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Two Lansing men sentenced to federal prison for armed robbery spree

One man received a 27-year sentence while his getaway driver received a six-year sentence.
Two Lansing men sentenced to federal prison for armed robbery spree.
Two Lansing men sentenced to federal prison for armed robbery spree.
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 6:55 AM EDT
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WILX) - Wednesday US Attorney Andrew Birge announced James Winston Honeysucker, Jr. was sentenced to serve more than 27 years in federal prison for committing four armed robberies in Lansing and Battle Creek.

Earlier in 2021, Honeysucker’s co-defendant, Wilnell Lakeey Henry was sentenced to more than six years for his role as Honeysucker’s getaway driver. The pair were ordered to pay full restitution to their victims.

From August through October of 2019, Honeysucker robbed four cash advance businesses at gunpoint in Battle Creek and Lansing. In each instance, he pretended to be interested in applying for a loan, then suddenly brandished a pistol, pointing it at the employee, and demanded cash. After the first robbery, Honeysucker recruited Henry to act as his getaway driver and they committed the last three robberies together.

Battle Creek Police Department investigators located and arrested Henry after surveillance videos showed him picking up Honeysucker following the robbery on October 22. Later that evening, BCPD officers located Honeysucker at a bus station in Chicago. BCPS contacted their Chicago counterparts, who went to the bus station and arrested him. Honeysucker had $17,000 in cash and a loaded pistol in his possession at the time. The FBI then assisted and expanded the investigation to ultimately link Honeysucker and Henry to the final three robberies.

In February, Honeysucker was convicted during a four-day trial, during which Henry cooperated with federal authorities, testifying against Honeysucker.

At Honeysucker’s sentencing, Chief US District Court Judge Robert J. Jonker voiced relief that no one was killed during the robbery spree and chided Honeysucker for causing a “real human toll” by robbing clerks at gunpoint. Judge Jonker was especially impacted by one teller’s testimony that during the robbery the thought flashed through her mind that she would never see her child again.

“Instead of working for their money, these brazen criminals used a loaded pistol to threaten and steal from those trying to earn an honest living,” Birge stated while announcing the sentences. “They were identified and apprehended so they could be brought to justice thanks to the outstanding work of our partners at the Battle Creek Police Department, Lansing Police Department, and Eaton County Sheriff’s Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Chicago Police Department.”

“This defendant committed four brazen armed robberies that terrorized innocent victims and endangered lives,” said Timothy Waters, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “The sentences handed down in this case should serve as an example to others – if you rob any kind of business with a firearm in Michigan, law enforcement at all levels will work together to bring you to justice.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Castle and Daniel Mekaru, and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Battle Creek Police Department, Lansing Police Department, Eaton County Sheriff’s Department, and Chicago Police Department.

Left: A 2016 mug shot of James Honeysucker. Right: An October 2019 mug shot of Wilnell Henry.
Left: A 2016 mug shot of James Honeysucker. Right: An October 2019 mug shot of Wilnell Henry.(WOOD TV)

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