Accomplice sentenced to 7 years in prison for deadly 7-Eleven crime spree across SoCal

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Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Accomplice pleads guilty in deadly 7-Eleven shooting spree in SoCal
A man who was along for the ride in a crime spree that left three people dead in a string of convenience store and fast food robberies across the Southland was sentenced to seven years in prison.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- A 44-year-old Los Angeles man pleaded guilty Monday and was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in a series of robberies at 7-Elevens stores in Southern California last summer.

Jason Payne pleaded guilty to three felony counts of robbery and one felony count of attempted robbery, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors say Payne never actually entered the stores, but was an accomplice to Malik Patt, 20.

Patt, who is yet to stand trial, is accused of murdering three people in the course of the robberies.

The crime spree allegedly began July 9, 2022, with the killing of a homeless man in the 16100 block of Parthenia Street, near Woodley Avenue, in North Hills. That killing happened about 200 yards from a 7-Eleven store that was robbed later that day.

Authorities said the 7-Eleven crime spree occurred July 11 -- or 7-11 -- beginning in Ontario. Police said just after midnight, the 7-Eleven at 636 N. Vine Ave. was robbed. The suspect held up the store with a handgun, but no shots were fired and no one was injured.

At 1:35 a.m., the 7-Eleven store at 2410 W. Arrow Route in Upland was robbed, police said.

At 1:50 a.m., the 7-Eleven store at 5102 La Sierra Ave. in Riverside was robbed by a gunman. That robbery escalated, with the suspect shooting a customer, who was hospitalized.

Minutes after 3 a.m. July 11, the Yum Yum Donuts shop at 2441 N. Tustin St. in Santa Ana was robbed, police said. About 20 minutes later, 24-year-old Matthew Rule of Santa Ana was fatally shot outside the 7-Eleven store at 302 E. 17th St. in Santa Ana.

Officers found Rule in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to the upper body, Santa Ana Police Department Sgt. Maria Lopez said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Santa Ana Police Department Chief David Valentin said Rule was not the primary target of the shooter. The gunman was targeting someone else, but Rule "stepped in" to "redirect" the robber and was shot, Valentin said.

Brea police said they responded at 4:17 a.m. to the 7-Eleven store at 109 W. Lambert Road and found a male store clerk fatally shot in what officers determined to be a robbery. The clerk was later identified as 40-year-old Matthew Hirsch, who died at the scene, police said.

About a half-hour later, the 7-Eleven store at 381 E. Whittier Blvd. in La Habra was robbed, and two people were shot, according to Sgt. Eric Roy of the La Habra Police Department. Both victims were taken to a hospital and survived. Police said the victims were a clerk and a customer.

Based on surveillance images, police said they were able to link the same suspect to all of the heists.

The robberies that occurred in Ontario and Upland will be prosecuted in San Bernardino County.

Patt and Payne were arrested in Los Angeles on Friday, July 15, 2022 by Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives's Orange County Violent Crime Task Force.

City News Service contributed to this report.