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Cincinnati Man Pleads Guilty to Murder of Convenience Store Owner, 5 Armed Robberies

Human RightsCincinnati Man Pleads Guilty to Murder of Convenience Store Owner, 5 Armed Robberies

CINCINNATI – A Cincinnati man pleaded guilty in federal court here today to using a firearm to commit murder and other crimes of violence. The parties involved have recommended a sentence of up to 45 years in prison for the defendant, who shot and killed the owner of Madeira Beverage in February 2021.

“Gun violence is never ok, and is especially tragic when a life is lost,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “One shooting death is one too many, and my office remains committed to holding trigger pullers accountable.”

“Today’s guilty plea is a step in the right direction, and it will hopefully provide some small amount of closure for Mr. Gupta’s family,” stated John Nokes, Acting Special Agent in Charge for ATF’s Columbus Field Division. “Mr. Gupta’s life ended tragically at the hands of the defendant. That heinous act altered the course of many lives, and it robbed Mr. Gupta, his family and our community of future opportunities that so many of us take for granted.”

Willie James Attaway, 32, admitted to murdering Roop C. Gupta and committing or attempting four other armed robberies on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9, 2021.

During the two-day crime spree, Attaway brandished a firearm to rob or attempt to rob:

Feb. 8 – Shell on S. Mason Montgomery Road in Deerfield Township.
Feb. 8 – Shell on Dixie Highway in Hamilton, Ohio.
Feb. 9 – Madeira Beverage on Kenwood Road in Madeira, Ohio.
Feb. 9 – Sunoco on Kenwood Road in Blue Ash, Ohio.
Feb. 9 – Marathon on North Broadway in Lebanon, Ohio.

At the first robbery, Attaway brandished a firearm at the two clerks and demanded that they empty the cash registers, which they did.

Later that night, at a second Shell gas station, Attaway brandished a firearm and said he was not afraid to shoot the clerk. The clerk gave Attaway money from the cash register.

The next day, Feb. 9, 2021, Attaway entered Madeira Beverage and confronted the store’s owner, Roop Gupta, who was working behind the counter. Attaway pointed a firearm at Gupta, and during the ensuing struggle he shot Gupta one time in the left abdomen. Gupta was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Later that evening, Attaway entered the Sunoco in Blue Ash, brandished a firearm, and demanded that the clerk give up the money in the cash register, which the clerk did.

During the final robbery on Feb. 9, Attaway pointed a firearm at the Marathon clerk and said, “Give me what you got.” The clerk reached under the counter, pretending he had a firearm, causing Attaway to flee.

A second defendant, Lamond Johnson, 37, is charged in this case. He is charged in all 14 counts of the indictment, and those charges remain pending.

Kenneth L. Parker, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and John Nokes, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced the guilty plea entered today before Senior U.S. District Judge Susan J. Dlott. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie D. Garcia and Kyle J. Healey are representing the United States in this case.

The investigation was jointly conducted by ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Madeira Police Department, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, the Cincinnati, Lebanon, Blue Ash, and Hamilton police departments, and the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.


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