News and Press Releases


WEDNESDAY - April 20, 2011


ELIZABETH CITY - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court yesterday United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced JOEL MATTHEW COVINGTON, 25, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, to 141 months’ imprisonment followed by five years’ supervised release.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on November 24, 2010. On January 27, 2010, COVINGTON pled guilty before United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle to Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951, and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c).

According to the investigation, on January 15, 2010, COVINGTON entered the Cumberland County ABC Store located on Person Street in Fayetteville. After waiting in line with three other customers, one in her third trimester of pregnancy, COVINGTON approached the counter, producing a handgun. He then demanded the clerk give him all of the money in the register. After receiving $389 from the clerk and before leaving the store, COVINGTON threatened to “blow all of your heads’ off,” should anyone attempt to stop him. COVINGTON then left the store with the cash and the firearm.

This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods(PSN) initiative 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 this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Fayetteville Police Department; and the Cumberland County Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes represented the government.

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