Jury: Guilty verdict was an easy decision
Richmond—A federal jury found two Richmond men guilty today on all four charges steming from a botched May 2010 robbery in Caroline County where a Good Samaritan was shot four times.
The trial started Monday and deliberations began Wednesday and lasted less than three hours before the three men and nine women on the jury handed down four guilty verdicts each for Warren Harold Brown and Winston Sylvester Oliver II.
The men, both 32, were convicted today in federal court of conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery affecting commerce and two counts of using a firearm during a crime.
In an exclusive interview, members of the jury told fredericksburg.com that it was an easy decision considering all the evidence that was presented and that they believed justice was served.
Attorneys for both men said they plan to appeal. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 12.
On May 8, 2010, a man entered the Mr. Fuel in the Carmel Church area at about 9:30 p.m. displaying a gun and demanding money. He fired a shot at the feet of a female cashier, according to a surveillance video that received national attention.
A male customer, Theodore Edmond, 62, entered the store and saw what was going on. He grabbed two bottles of beer from the refrigerated 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, groin and butt areas. Edmond, who lives just south of Baltimore, fully recovered, but doctors were unable to remove any of the bullets from his body.
He was notified of today’s conviction by a call from a fredericksburg.com reporter.
“I don’t have any say or feeling about it one way or the other. I’ve already moved on,” said the former Marine and Vietnam veteran who had just retired from the Naval Academy a few months before the attempted robbery. “I have no regrets about anything I’ve done. Well, I guess the only thing I regret is that I didn’t have a tire iron, and then this would have been a much shorter trial.”
During the two-day trial, prosecutors heard from 20 witnesses, which included the cashier who identified Brown as the gunman, the estranged wife of Oliver who testified that he had been planning to rob Mr. Fuel ever since she worked there in 2008 and a forensic scientist, who said Brown’s DNA was found on a pair of bloody eyeglasses that was left on the scene by the gunman.
Critical pieces of evidence were statements made by Brown about his involvement and the store’s video surveillance tape.
A federal agent testified on Tuesday that Brown admitted trying to rob the store and described the planning of the robbery attempt, his role in it and the role of a co-conspirator, whom he identified as Oliver. He said Oliver was the getaway driver and waited for him in a nearby motel parking lot.
Brown, an unemployed father of three at the time, told the agent that he didn’t want to do it at first, but he needed money for his kids. He also said he was sorry for shooting Edmond.
U.S. Prosecutor Roderick Young and the mothers of both defendants declined to comment after court.