A 28-year-old man who held a gun to an employee during a Sun Prairie gas station robbery was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison.

Eric Jerome Clay, of Madison, robbed the BP gas station at 9 Tower Drive on Dec. 14, 2018, taking money and cigarettes while pointing a weapon at a gas station employee. Authorities report that a 16-year-old male helped Clay in the robbery.

Earlier that day Clay and his accomplices robbed a Union Cab Driver in Madison. The next day they robbed a Green Cab driver in Madison, striking the driver in the face with a handgun.

During the Sept. 9 sentencing, Clay was called a dangerous person by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson, noting that a “lengthy prison sentence was warranted to protect the public.”

Clay’s prison term will be followed by a five-year supervised release.

In June 2019, Clay plead guilty to three counts of interference with commerce by threats or violence and one count of brandishing a firearm in a crime of violence. In a letter to the court, Clay apologized to the victims of his crime. He also said he was sorry for the impact his crime had on his wife and three children.

“I now understand that my freedom is not just about me,” Clay wrote in a letter. “I have failed them as a father and man, and I will never be able to make up for that.”

The Sun Prairie and Madison Police Department investigations helped bring the felony charges against Clay.

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