News and Press Releases


TUESDAY - February 22, 2010


WILMINGTON - The United States Attorney Office announced that on February 10, 2010, following a three-day trial, a federal jury convicted JERRY BARNES, 32, of Elm City, North Carolina, of conspiring to commit armed bank robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371; aiding and abetting armed bank robbery with forced accompaniment, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2113(e); and aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924.

On December 12, 2008, three men wearing masks entered the Branch Banking and Trust Bank (BB&T), in Elm City, North Carolina. The investigation revealed that co-defendant, Brian Lucas, went to the office of one of the bank employees and ordered the employee to get down on the floor. Once the employee was on the floor, Lucas dragged her a short distance from her office to the teller counter. Meanwhile, two other co-defendants, Anthony Atkinson and Marcus Wiley, jumped over the teller counter and demanded money from the tellers. Anthony Atkinson was armed with a handgun and kept waving it in the face of one of the tellers. Wiley gave a teller a white plastic bag and demanded that the teller put the money in it. The teller complied with Wiley’s demand and put money and dye packs in the bag. After receiving the money, Lucas, Wiley, and Anthony fled the bank with approximately $28,000.00 and hopped into a car driven by Vernon Atkinson. Vernon Atkinson then drove the four to a pre-determined location where they met the fourth co-defendant, Matthew Farr. Anthony, Lucas and Wiley then moved into Farr’s car, where those four then traveled to an area known as Sleepy Hollow.

Further investigation revealed that the dye pack included in with the money exploded as the robbers escaped the bank on their way to Vernon Atkinson’s car and splattered on some of Wiley’s clothing.

Evidence presented at trial revealed that the night prior to the robbery, BARNES, Lucas, Wiley, and Atkinson, were at BARNES’ residence where they discussed committing the robbery. At that time, BARNES used a sketch of the area of the bank that displayed where he would be parked (directly in front of Elm City Pharmacy which is directly across from BB&T) as his co-defendants went inside the bank to commit the robbery. The sketch was recovered from BARNES shortly after the robbery. On the morning of the robbery, Lucas, Wiley, Anthony Atkinson, and Vernon Atkinson (BJ) met at BARNES’ residence. When they left BARNES’ residence, they saw Matthew Farr, where the upcoming events were explained and Farr was recruited to be the second get away driver. Farr was told where to go to wait for them. BJ drove Lucas, Wiley, and Atkinson to a location near the bank and dropped them off in the area. BARNES drove to, and parked his GMC Suburban SUV directly in front of, Elm City Pharmacy, and went inside to distract the employees while his co-defendants went inside to rob the bank. BJ parked behind the drug store and waited for Lucas, Wiley, and Atkinson to return.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Felice McConnell Corpening represented the government.

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

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