(Before It's News)
HOUSTON – Four of five defendants involved in a string of violent armed robberies have been ordered to federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. The group was responsible for the armed robberies and attempted robbery of Jet Pawn, Cash America Pawn and Mad Dog Smoke Shop in January 2015.
Jerrieus Williams, 32, Alonzo Flowers, 24, Kye Rue, 23, Andre Coleman, 25, and Paul McCoy Jr., 24, all of Houston, pleaded guilty last year to two counts of aiding and abetting interference with commerce by robbery and one count of aiding and abetting use and carrying of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Today, Chief U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal sentenced Williams to a total of 219 months in federal prison – 135 months for the robbery and a consecutive 84 months for the firearms conviction. He will also be required to serve three years of supervised release following completion of the prison term. In handing down the sentence, Judge Rosenthal noted the need for a substantial sentence based on the managerial role Williams played in the crimes. He was ultimately held accountable for the conduct of his co-defendants, which included the theft of 26 firearms, substantial monetary losses and abducting victims within the business by moving them at gunpoint to the safe and jewelry cases.
Williams was the leader and organizer of this armed robbery crew and sat outside of the robbery locations acting as a lookout while the others conducted the robberies. He also scouted the locations and provided the firearms to his co-defendants prior to each robbery. Flowers and McCoy each ran inside the business locations carrying guns and stole firearms, jewelry and cash.
During the attempted robbery of Mad Dog Smoke Shop, Flowers and Rue entered the store and pointed a gun at the lone employee. At that time, the employee retrieved his personal firearm and shot at the robbers, causing them to flee without getting away with any property. Flowers suffered a gunshot wound. As they were fleeing, they dropped a gun stolen from Jet Pawn.
Flowers and McCoy were sentenced earlier this year to 154 and 130 months, respectively. Rue was previously sentenced to 124 months based on his conduct during these three robberies, which included being a getaway driver and entering the Cash America Pawn and Mad Dog Smoke Shop with the intent to rob them.
The final defendant – Coleman – was also on the entry team and carried a gun during the Cash America Pawn and Jet Pawn robberies. He is scheduled for sentencing March 22, 2017.
All have been and will remain in custody.
The ATF conducted the investigation along with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather Winter and Richard Hanes prosecuted the case.