Timothy Carson, troubled ex-cop, sentenced for robbery spree

Timothy Carson, the Minneapolis Police SWAT team member who carved a swath of violent robberies through Hennepin and Dakota counties last year, will serve 122 months in prison.

Carson is already serving an eight-year federal sentence in Texas for other aspects of his crime spree. In October he was sentenced to 10 years for five counts of aggravated robbery in Hennepin County.

But since Carson will serve all of these sentences concurrently, the most recent sentencing by Dakota County Judge Thomas Poch means he's really only serving an extra two months for five counts of first-degree aggravated robbery and two counts of attempted aggravated robbery.

Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom says he's disappointed in the sentence.

"It's really inadequate when you consider the violent nature of the crimes by an officer sworn to uphold the law," Backstrom told City Pages today. "We had asked for a sentence of an additional seven years in prison."

Carson's defense relied heavily on his mental illness -- like many of the returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan we wrote about in our September cover story, Carson was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injury at the time of his crimes.

"What happened with Tim was all the shit hit the fan at once," Carson's lawyer Andrew Small said after the sentencing. "He was battling mental illness, everything at home went crazy, and after living 28-and-three-quarters years of life as a law-abiding citizen, he had a 20-day period when things got out of control."

Small said Carson accepts full responsibility for his actions, and hopes his story can serve as a cautionary tale to other veterans who are reluctant to get help with their mental issues Backstrom says Carson's mental illness is certainly relevant, "but the judge showed far too much leniency in this case."

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