Decades in prison for men after check-cashing store killing

Two District men, co-conspirators in a thwarted plan to rob check-cashing stores, were sentenced Thursday to about five decades in prison.

 Gregory Trotter, 60, and Ernest Pee Jr., 51, were armed when they robbed two check-cashing stores in Northeast in June 2010, according to authorities. The second robbery turned deadly.

Trotter and Pee walked into a store on Benning Road, their faces masked, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Trotter pointed his gun at two customers, while Pee pistol-whipped the storeowner’s elderly father.   

 Trotter shot 30-year-old Prabhjot Singh, the storeowner, who stepped between a female customer and Trotter’s gun, according to authorities. Singh, of Accokeek, died from his injuries. Singh’s father was beaten during the robbery, according to police.

The men stole about $40,000 from the store, authorities said.

 Passersby, including a Metro bus driver and one of the store’s customers, pursued the men as they escaped in Pee’s car, according to authorities. Captured, they were convicted in December on more than two dozen felony charges, including murder.

 Trotter was sentenced to 58 years in prison, while Pee received a term of 47 years.

 The U.S. Attorney’s Office posthumously recognized Singh for giving his life while protecting fellow citizens.

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