United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins
Western District of North Carolina
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Charlotte man was ordered to serve more than 24 years in prison in connection with the armed robbery of an auto parts store, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. On Wednesday, August 28, 2013, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., sentenced Lavonte Lamont Hallman, 25, of Charlotte to 294 months in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
Wayne L. Dixie, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division, and Chief Rodney D. Monroe of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) join U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement.
In March 2012, a criminal indictment charged Hallman with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery; Hobbs Act robbery; possession of firearm in furtherance of the Hobbs Act Robbery; and possession of a firearm by a felon. In July 2012, a federal jury found Hallman guilty of all charges following a four-day trial. According to trial evidence and court documents, on December 26, 2011, Hallman entered an O’Reilly’s Auto Parts Store located on Old Statesville Road, in Charlotte, with a yellow cloth covering his face and carrying a loaded .25 caliber pistol. Court records indicate that Hallman pointed the firearm at store employees, told them they had ten seconds to empty their cash drawers and proceeded to count down from ten. The employees complied and Hallman obtained a total of $336.00 from two registers. Hallman ran out of the store and hid in the bushes across the street until his getaway driver, Ronald Demetrius Campbell, picked him up in a white Mercury Marquis. Court records show that law enforcement spotted and stopped the getaway vehicle shortly thereafter and Campbell was arrested at the scene of the traffic stop. Hallman fled the Marquis on foot with his pistol in hand, but was apprehended and arrested by law enforcement after a brief footchase.
In June 2012, Campbell, 37, also of Charlotte, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and was sentenced to 41 months in prison and to three years of supervised release in March 2013.
Hallman had two prior felony convictions for armed robberies of other auto parts stores in the Charlotte area. In issuing the sentence, Judge Cogburn recognized the serial nature of Hallman’s criminal conduct, and emphasized the need for a sentence which would protect the community from this repeated violent behavior.
Hallman has been in local federal custody in the Western District of North Carolina since his arrest in April of 2012. Upon designation of a federal facility he will be transferred into custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
U.S. Attorney Tompkins thanked CMPD and ATF for conducting the investigation and the North Carolina Highway Patrol for their assistance in locating and stopping the getaway vehicle.
The prosecution for the government was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney George Guise and Special Assistant United States Attorney Erin Comerford of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.
Erin Comerford, a state prosecutor with the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office, was assigned by District Attorney Andrew Murray to serve as a Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte. Ms. Comerford is duly sworn in both state and federal courts, and prosecutes gang, violent crime and high level drug trafficking cases in federal court. Funded by the Governor’s Crime Commission, the goal of this partnership is to make Mecklenburg County safer through a coordinated enforcement effort.