MISSOULA — A Butte man accused of robbing three businesses at gunpoint in three different Montana cities in February admitted charges Tuesday, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said.
Thomas Scott Cockrill, 49, pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery affecting commerce and to brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Cockrill faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the robbery crime and a mandatory minimum seven years to life in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release on the firearm crime.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen DeSoto presided. Sentencing was set for Nov. 10 before U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen. Cockrill was detained pending further proceedings.
The government alleged that on Feb. 9, Cockrill robbed Blackjack Pizza in Missoula and brandished a handgun at an employee. Later that same evening, Cockrill held up at gun point an employee of the La Quinta Inn in Helena. Four days later, on Feb. 13, Cockrill robbed the Elevated Dispensary in Butte and brandished a handgun at an employee. Each business lost several hundred dollars in the robberies, according to court documents.
When interviewed by law enforcement, Cockrill admitted he owned three firearms and that he robbed the three businesses.