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'Knockout Boy' gets seven years for GameStop robbery

FORT WORTH -- The last member of the "Knockout Boys" accused of robbery was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison.

Jarel Jackson pleaded guilty Friday morning in Criminal District Court No. 2 to aggravated robbery and evading arrest for the Feb. 8, 2007, holdup of a Watauga GameStop store.

The 20-year-old was the last of a Saginaw-area robbery gang to be sentenced to prison.

His plea came just a month after he had told District Judge Wayne Salvant that he wanted a trial because he wasn't involved in the holdup. If he had gone to trial, Jackson faced a maximum of life in prison.

In January, Jackson had pleaded guilty to robbery and evading arrest before changing his mind.

Jackson was accused of being the driver of the getaway car in the GameStop robbery.

In one section of a pre-sentencing report, completed by a county adult probation officer after Jackson's arrest, Jackson said that he had only gone to the GameStop to buy a game and that he didn't know another man had a gun.

After Jackson denied being involved last month, Salvant ordered a trial.

Two other men were sentenced to 10 years in prison in January for the crime.

Jackson was taken into custody Friday.

GameStop heist

Three masked men, one of whom had a handgun, entered a GameStop in the 6200 block of Rufe Snow Drive in Watauga about 9 p.m. Feb. 8, 2007. A passer-by noticed the robbery through a window and alerted two police officers who were eating dinner at a nearby restaurant, police said.

When the officers confronted the men in front of the store, two fled in a car and the third ran away. Christopher Shaw, 19, of Fort Worth was caught nearby, police said.

Over the next few days, Jackson; Zachary Arnold, 18, of Saginaw; and another 18-year-old were arrested; and a 16-year-old was detained. Prosecutors declined to charge the 18-year-old, and the case against the 16-year-old was sent to juvenile court. No information was available on that case.

Other holdups Based on statements the men made, detectives came to believe that the group was connected to a string of unsolved armed robberies in at least five other cities around Tarrant County, police said.

Keller police foiled one robbery that Watauga detectives said was connected to the group.

Fort Worth detectives suspected the men in the robbery of a west-side Wingstop, but were unable to make a case. Other jurisdictions had the same problem.

The gang The Knockout Boys had about 20 members, Watauga police said. "It wasn't like a big gang," Shaw told KXAS/Channel 5 in a jailhouse interview. "Just a bunch of kids that grew up together."

Sent to prison Shaw received 10 years for the GameStop holdup and another Watauga robbery. Arnold got 10 years for aggravated robbery.

This report includes material from Star-Telegram archives.