Jacksonville, TX (KETK) — Four Jacksonville men have been indicted and arrested in connection with a violent crime spree targeting area businesses in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Jonathan Roshard Brown, 21, Maurice Deshun Jones, 30, Willie Duane Rogers, 24, and Michael Dangelio Johnson, 25, were named in an 8-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Apr. 24, 2013.
The defendants will be arraigned on Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie.
The indictment alleges that beginning on October 2, 2011, Brown, Jones, Rogers and Johnson conspired together to commit robbery, which unlawfully obstructed, delayed and affected commerce in violation of federal law. The defendants are specifically alleged to have committed four armed robberies in Jacksonville during this crime spree which began on October 2, 2011 when Brown, Jones and Rogers stole $9,465 from the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Jacksonville. On May 25, 2012, Rogers and Jones were stopped for a traffic violation in Jacksonville. Rogers was arrested for driving without a valid driver license and Jones was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm. A loaded handgun was found protruding from underneath the front passenger seat of the vehicle. On November 2, 1012, Brown, Jones and Rogers robbed the Razorback Grocery on Hwy 69 in Jacksonville. Brown brandished a handgun and demanded money from the owner. Razorback Grocery suffered a loss of approximately $16,000 in cash and $6,900 in Texas lottery tickets. On November 16, 2012, Brown, Jones, Rogers and Johnson again robbed the owner of the Razorback Grocery while he was waiting int eh commercial drive-thru line at the Austin Bank on West Commerce Street in Jacksonville. During the robbery Brown fired a handgun, striking the victim. The bullet passed through the victim’s hand, throat and shoulder. The victim survived after being airlifted to a Tyler hospital. The defendants obtained an undetermined amount of cash from the victim’s vehicle. The armed robbery resulted in the closure of Razorback Grocery and the temporary closure of Austin Bank. On November 23, 2012, Brown and jones attempted to rob the owner of the Fast Fuel on Hwy 69 in Jacksonville. The owner was able to strike Brown and flee. From March 19 to March 23, 2013, Rogers, through a series of telephone calls recorded by law enforcement, attempted to bribe a witness in the investigation by offering a payment in exchange for the witness recanting a statement to investigators.
Jones was arrested on May 5, 2013 near Bullard, Texas. Rogers was arrested on May 5, 2013 in Jacksonville. Brown and Johnson have been in state custody at the Cherokee County Jail on related charges.
The defendants are each charged with one count of Hobbs Act conspiracy. Jones is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, and one count of brandishing a firearm during a violent crime. Brown is also charged with three counts of Hobbs Act robbery and two counts of brandishing a firearm during a violent crime. Rogers is also charged with two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, two counts of brandishing a firearm during a violent crime, and one count of obstruction of a criminal investigation. Johnson is also charged with one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during a violent crime.
Under federal law, where there are multiple counts of brandishing a firearm in a crime of violence, the first conviction is punishable by a minimum of seven years in federal prison, and additional convictions are punishable by a minimum of 25 years in prison, and each sentence must be served consecutively to any other sentence. The Hobbs Act violations each carry a maximum of 20 years in federal prison. The felon in possession charge carries a term of up to 10 years in federal prison. The obstruction of justice charge is punishable by a term of up to five years in federal prison.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, ammunition and body armor, and improving the safety of residents in the Eastern District of Texas. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
This case is being investigated by the FBI East Texas Gang Initiative and the Jacksonville Police Department with assistance from the Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Moore.
A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.