Man sentenced to 16 years for robberies, shooting of Twin Cities musician

Aaron Lee was shot in the stomach during the late-night robbery.

The man who shot a Twin Cities musician in the stomach during a street robbery has been sentenced to 199 months in prison.

Jonell Butler, 35, pleaded guilty earlier this month to four robberies carried out between September and October of last year.

His spree included the shooting in Minneapolis of Aaron "Hix" Lee, a musician with local band Red Daughters, who was walking home with his girlfriend on Oct. 5 when Butler pulled up in a white SUV and jumped out of the passenger side with a gun.

The couple turned over their wallets and cellphone to him, but when Lee "said something about not wanting to be robbed," Butler shot him in the abdomen and fled.

Lee was rushed to the hospital for surgery, with the bullet penetrating just beneath his belly button, hitting his colon and severing his iliac vein and then lodging into his leg.

The bullet will remain in Lee's leg for the rest of his life. 

An hour later, Butler carried out another robbery at 4th Street NE and 22nd Avenue NE, stealing wallets and phones for another couple.

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Then another 90 minutes later, he robbed four women walking on 12th Avenue SE and University, with two handing over their phones and cash while the other two fled.

Butler also pleaded guilty to a robbery on Sept. 8, when he was picked up by a man while with a woman, before holding a knife to the driver's throat, ordering him to get out, and stealing his car.

The person who was driving the SUV as he carried out two of the late-night robberies, Natalie Box, 36, of Hibbing, pleaded guilty to aiding-and-abetting assault and robbery. She was sentenced to 78 months in prison on June 11.

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