Downing had pleaded guilty to the charges of robbery that interfered with interstate commerce, conspiracy to commit the robbery and use of a firearm.
No one from his family or the victims' family were in court for the sentencing.
Two other men, Tyree Mansell and Nyfis Toppings, have already been sentenced in the case. Mansell was convicted by a federal jury on the conspiracy charge, but was acquitted on the weapons offense. Jurors deadlocked on the robbery charge; Mansell later pleaded guilty to that offense rather than face a retrial. He was sentenced to five years behind bars.
Toppings pleaded guilty in federal court to the same charges as Downing, and was also sentenced to seven years and a day in prison.
According to the federal criminal complaint, Downing admitted to committing multiple home-invasion robberies of Asian business owners.
"Downing said that he and Mansell chose to rob the owners of [K&C Beverage] because the family was Asian, and the bandits believed that Asian business owners kept a lot of cash from the business in their home instead of securing it in a bank," the complaint said.
The judge also ordered Downing to pay $68,351 in restitution to K&C Beverage, or a third of the estimated loot.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jose R. Arteaga said after the hearing that a fourth man is believed to have been involved in the home invasion but that authorities haven't been able to corroborate that person's participation. n
Contact Julie Shaw at 215-854-2592 or firstname.lastname@example.org.