News and Press Releases


THURSDAY - July 16, 2009


WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court yesterday two defendants were sentenced by Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox for a spree of robberies that occurred between July 5, 2008 and July 9, 2008. RAPHEAL DAVONNE POWELL, 24, of Raleigh, North Carolina, received 457 months' imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. DAVID MICHAEL WESLEY, Jr., 19, also of Raleigh, North Carolina, received 385 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. The Court imposed restitution in the amount of $1,879.00 for each defendant.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Superseding Criminal Indictment on December 3, 2008 and on January 20, 2009, each pled guilty to one count of conspiring to commit Hobbs Act robbery and two counts of aiding and abetting the use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

Between July 5, 2008, and July 9, 2008, POWELL and WESLEY along with a third defendant, Samuel Keith Kerr, robbed several convenience stores and a Mexican restaurant. In all of the robberies, WESLEY and Kerr would enter the store with bandanas over their faces and long-sleeved hooded sweatshirts. WESLEY would be carrying a .380 handgun while Kerr took the cash drawer from the register. The stores included a Rite Aid Drug Store, the Stop 1 Market, the Lighthouse Food mart, and the Tienda Todo Guerrenrense Mexican Restaurant, all in Raleigh.

Kerr entered his guilty plea to the same charges in December, 2008, and was sentenced to 360 months imprisonment on March 30, 2009.

Mr. Holding commented: "This case is another example of our effort to work closely with the Raleigh Police Department and ATF as we deal with the rising crime rate in Raleigh and especially with the increase in the robberies of local businesses. We believe our joint effort will see a reduction in the level of violent crime and robberies locally. Certainly this lengthy sentence will ensure this defendant will not further terrorize our community."

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Raleigh Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes served as prosecutor for the government.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at within 48 hours of release.

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