Gassew had a defense attorney but represented himself at trial. Defense attorney William J. Honig said in a sentencing memo that he “displayed a maturity and poise that none of us believed he possessed” in defending himself, adding that “everyone should be proud of the way he conducted himself before this court.”
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Ewald Zittlau said Gassew testified falsely that he was selling pot in a parking lot in Oxford Village at the time of the second robbery of which he was found guilty.
In that robbery, Gassew held up a 7-Eleven in Fox Chase on Oct. 28, 2009, and struck the store clerk on the head with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun. He made off with almost $6,000 worth of cigarettes and cash.
Cops spotted Gassew within minutes when a truck he stole rammed a tree, and he ran off, police said. They found a gun in the truck. Cops shot him in the arm before his arrest, an arrest affidavit said. n
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