Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
Mr. Fuel case going federal
Federal prosecutors will take over the case of the man accused of shooting a Good Samaritan four times during a botched May 2010 robbery in Caroline County—and the case of his accused get-away driver.
Caroline has dropped charges against Warren Harold Brown, 31, and Winston Sylvester Oliver II, 32, both of Richmond. No federal charges have been officially filed, but a criminal complaint was entered, which is enough to hold the two men in federal custody.
Brown, an unemployed father of three, made his initial federal court appearance today in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge M. Hannah Lauck, who agreed to appoint him a public defender. Oliver’s first appearance was yesterday.
Both men are facing federal conspiracy to commit robbery and use of a firearm charges, and both are scheduled to have detention hearings on Tuesday.
On May 8, a man entered the Mr. Fuel gas station in Carmel Church about 9:30 p.m. displaying a gun and demanding money. He shot at the feet of a frightened female cashier, according to a surveillance video that received national attention.
A 61-year-old male customer entered the store and saw what was going on. He grabbed two bottles of beer from the refrigerator cases at the back of the store and struck the robber in the back of the head.
The two men struggled before the robber turned and shot the man four times, striking him in the head, shoulder and the groin and butt area. The man, who lives in Maryland, was able to recover.
The robber fled the store by foot and got away. Brown was arrested and charged a few days later.
According to a federal affidavit, Brown waived his Miranda rights and admitted to committing the robbery and described the planning of the robbery attempt, his role in it and the role of a co-conspirator, who he identified as Oliver.
DNA evidence recovered from a pair of glasses left at the scene also linked Brown to the crime, according to the affidavit.
In a separate affidavit, “Brown stated Oliver planned and directed the entire armed robbery and provided Brown the handgun which Brown utilized during the armed robbery. Brown said that Oliver told him that he used to work at Mr. Fuel and was adamant that there were no video cameras inside, the affidavit said.
According to that federal affidavit, Oliver would only admit that he was in the parking lot next to Mr. Fuel on the date and time of the robbery, and that he was with Brown, but he would not acknowledge being an active participant in the armed robbery.
The affidavit also said that Oliver’s estranged wife, a current Spotsylvania resident, was interviewed and said that she used to work at Mr. Fuel in 2008 and had heard Oliver say he wanted to rob it.
In a recorded jail telephone conversation, Oliver told his pastor where to find the .22 caliber pistol that was used in the robbery and to give it to law enforcement officials, but the affidavit says the handgun was never found.
Theodore Edmond, the man who was shot four times, told me this evening that since his story came out, he has receive gifts of thanks, which include $1,000 from Mr. Fuel, a monetary gift from an anonymous source and an offer to get free gun training worth about $800.