13 years for Aurora man who robbed Naperville 7-Eleven with paintball gun

Gerald Norris told Judge Brian Telander he's a changed man.

And, the 21-year-old said, if Telander showed mercy in sentencing him for his third felony as an adult, he would never again do anything that would land him back in jail.

But after reviewing the Aurora man's extensive criminal history and a two-minute video of his armed robbery of a Naperville convenience store last December, Telander wasn't so sure and sentenced Norris to 13 years in prison. The sentence was two years less than prosecutors sought and seven more than the minimum.

Norris was found guilty of aggravated robbery last month during a bench trial.

"You seem to be very sorry," Telander told a sobbing Norris Wednesday. "But a picture is worth a thousand words, and seeing that video again puts everything back into perspective about what happened that night, and it's terrifying."

Norris, wearing a ski mask and armed with a realistic-looking paintball gun, entered the 7-Eleven on the 1600 block of north Route 59 about 2:40 a.m. Dec. 5. He hopped the counter and jammed a gun in the back of the male clerk, Manu Patel, as Patel emptied two cash registers of about $300 cash into a bag.

While Patel was emptying the register, Norris can be heard on the video threatening Patel and, on three separate occasions, counting backward from 10 and urging a flustered Patel to "hurry up."

"Three times, Mr. Patel is left to understand he has less than five seconds to live," Assistant State's Attorney Shanti Kulkarni said. "Why?"

While Patel emptied the registers, Norris grabbed $140 from the clerk's pants pocket and several packs of cigarettes from the shelf.

Norris threatened to "come back and kill" Patel if he called police.

Shortly after the robbery, an Aurora police officer spotted a vehicle near Gregory Drive and Commons Road whose driver appeared to match the robber's description. Kulkarni said proceeds from the robbery were on the front seat of the car when Norris was apprehended.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.