KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man is sentenced for his role in nine armed robberies, including one that ended in the death of a store clerk.

Joe Lee Nichols, 30, will spend 45 years in federal prison without the chance for parole.

In March 2020, Nichols pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit robbery, three counts of robbery, and three counts of using a firearm to further a crime.

Nichols admitted was involved in robbing nine businesses at gunpoint in less than three weeks in July 2018.

The robberies included:

  • Arrowhead Inn, 6006 E.  31st Street, July 2, 2018
  • Boost Mobile, 5218 E. Truman Road, June 12, 2018
  • Wood Springs Suites, 11301 Colorado Avenue, July 14, 2018.

During sentencing, federal prosecutors presented video evidence that he was also involved in a 10th armed robbery.

The crime happened at Inner-City Oil convenience store near 59th and Swope Parkway on July 16, 2018.

Sentencing documents say video surveillance shows Nichols pointing a handgun at an employee inside the convenience store. The clerk resisted and the two ended up struggling over Nichols’ gun.

The video shows Nichols shooting his gun multiple times before the employee fell to the floor, according to court documents. The employee then retrieved a handgun and shot at Nichols. At that point, Nichols stomped and kicked the employee’s head and body.

The employee lost his firearm, which was recovered by Nichols’s accomplice, who then used it to shoot the store clerk, according to court documents.

Court documents show investigators matched a palm print on a freezer inside the store to Nichols’ hand.

Nichols is the third defendant to be sentenced in this case. One additional co-defendant has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing and two other defendants remain set for trial in May 2023.