News

Four Defendants Indicted in St. Mary’s County Bank Robbery


Bank Manager and Her Two Minor Children Kidnaped

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2008

Greenbelt, Maryland - Four defendants were indicted today on charges in connection with the September 24, 2008 robbery of $169,900 from a bank in St. Mary’s County in which the bank manager and her two minor children were kidnaped from their residence, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “As a result of the investigation led by the St. Mary's County Sheriff’s Office and the St. Mary's Bureau of Criminal Investigations, four defendants were indicted today in connection with a bank robbery in St. Mary's County in which the bank manager and her two minor children were kidnaped. I am grateful to all of the agencies that assisted in the investigation that resulted in these serious federal criminal charges. The crime of using a gun in a violent crime carries a maximum sentence of life in federal prison."

According to the 10 count indictment, prior to the robbery, Joseph Brown, William Johnson and Quinita Ennis observed the whereabouts of the bank manager, determining the time and route she used to leave her minor children in the care of another, and the procedures used by bank employees to open the bank. On September 24, 2008, Ennis drove Brown and Johnson to the bank manager’s residence in Calvert County. Brown and Johnson, wearing masks and camouflage clothing, and brandishing a 9 mm rifle, kidnaped the manager and her two minor children, and drove the family to St. Mary’s County in the manager’s vehicle. Brown got out of the vehicle in California, Maryland, and Johnson ordered the manager to drive to the bank and obtain funds from the bank, while Johnson held her minor son hostage in her vehicle. The manager’s daughter was released.

The indictment alleges that Johnson took $169,900 from the bank manager and forced her to drive him to an elementary school, where the manager and her son were released. Johnson drove the manager’s vehicle to a pharmacy in California, Maryland where he abandoned the vehicle and joined Brown in Ennis’s vehicle with the stolen bank funds. Ennis drove Brown and Johnson to Brown’s residence.

The indictment further alleges that between September 24 and 29, 2008, Brown and Johnson buried the rifle used in the robbery behind a shed in the backyard of Brown’s residence. Brown and Johnson bought safes, and buried the safes with approximately $84,000 of the stolen funds in Brown’s backyard. Brown and Johnson attempted to burn camouflage clothing, sunglasses, a stocking hat and gloves used in the robbery in Brown’s backyard.

Between September 30 and October 3, 2008 Brown and Johnson allegedly traveled to Virginia and North Carolina with some of the stolen funds. On October 1, 2008, Ennis allegedly made a wire transfer of $9,000 from a store in California, Maryland to Brown in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Joseph Franklin Brown, Jr., age 36, of Great Mills, Maryland; William Cordell Johnson, also known as Backyard Billy, age 37 of Port Republic, Maryland; and Quinita Jesse Ennis, age 30, of Lexington Park, Maryland, face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy; 25 years in prison for bank robbery; and life in prison for using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. The indictment seeks forfeiture of property from these three defendants, including $169,900 and the rifle used in the bank robbery, as well as another rifle from Brown that was recovered from his residence. Brown and Johnson also face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for evidence tampering; and five years in prison for interstate transport of stolen property.

Ennis also faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for making false statements in purchasing a rifle on June 20, 2008 at a Lexington Park store that was used in the robbery, falsely representing that she was the actual purchaser, when in fact she was purchasing the firearm for Brown. She also faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for interstate transport of stolen property.

A fourth defendant, Edwin Jonathan Jones, age 40, of Lexington Park, Maryland faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for being an accessory after the fact in connection with assisting Brown and Johnson from September 24 to October 3, 2008 to hinder their arrest.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked St. Mary’s County Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron and the St. Mary’s County Bureau of Criminal Investigation; St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney Richard D. Fritz and his office; Calvert County State’s Attorney Laura L. Martin and her office; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Maryland State Police for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Steven Dunne and Stuart Berman, who are prosecuting the case.

 

 

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