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 suspect’s lawyer denies he is man in robbery video
Surveillance video of a botched May 2010 robbery at a Caroline County gas station where a Good Samaritan was shot four times was played in federal court today.
Tomorrow, the defense attorney for Warren Harold Brown plans to argue that the gun-yeilding man portrayed in that video is not his client.
“You’re going to see a video tape of what actually happened and you will be convinced that it is not him on the tape,” Attorney Mark Tyndall told a jury of three men and nine women during opening statements.
Brown, 32, and accused get-away driver Winston Sylvester Oliver II, 32, are both charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery affecting commerce and two counts of using a firearm during a crime. Both men are from Richmond.
It was mentioned in court that Brown is also known as “Fleet” and Oliver is also known as “Antonio” or “Kong.”
Assistant U.S. Prosecutors Roderick Young and Erik Siebert presented 12 out of 20 possible witnesses today. They said they plan to prove that Brown is indeed the robber in the video and that Oliver, whose estranged wife is a former employee of Mr. Fuel, had been conspiring to rob the gas station since 2008.
On May 8, 2010, 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.
“He handed me a package of crackers to ring up… that’s when he pulled the gun out,” said Sharon Jo Conrad, who was working as a cashier that night. “First I thought he was joking, so I pushed the gun away and said ‘you got to be kidding.’”
Maryland resident Theodore Edmond, 62, testified today that he 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 side of the head.
The two men struggled before the robber turned and shot Edmond–a former Marine and Vietnam veteran– four times, striking him in the head, shoulder and the groin and butt area. He was able to recover.
“No one was more shocked than me that he didn’t pass out,” Edmond told Judge James R. Spencer, who is presiding over the case. “The only regret is that he [lived] for the police to capture him. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do anything and they murdered that lady.”
The robber fled the store by foot and got away. Brown was arrested and charged a few days later.
Edmond, Conrad and two other eyewitnesses all identified Brown as the gunman in court today.
Three deputies from the Caroline sheriff’s office and a Spotsylvania K-9 officer testified about their roles in the case.
Detective Timothy Walker with the Richmond Police Department testified that Oliver was a “reliable” paid informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration up until he was charged in this case.
A self-described heroin addict testified that Oliver bragged about his involvement in the robbery while they were hearing about it in the news. Oliver’s pastor also testified that Oliver told him he knew where the gun was and wanted to use it as leverage with the police. According to a federal affidavit, the gun was never recovered.
Oliver’s Attorney Craig Sampson said his cient is not responsible for what happened.
“It’s important that someone pay for what happened, but it’s important that the correct people pay the price for what happened at Mr. Fuel,” Sampson said. “If the wrong people are held to account, it does not bring justice to anyone.”
The case is scheduled to resume tomorrow at 9:45 a.m. and a verdict is expected by this evening.