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March 6, 2013

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee


Tyler Schaeffer and Two Codefendants Charged In Armed Robbery Spree

All Face Lengthy Prison Terms For Using Firearms In The Commission Of Violent Crimes

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A federal grand jury in Knoxville returned a 14-count indictment on Mar. 5, 2012, against Tyler Schaeffer, 21, of Seymour, Tenn., for one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, seven counts of Hobbs Act robbery, four counts of brandishing a firearm during a robbery, one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methylone, and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. In that same indictment, Jerel Bray-Shawn Johnson, 20, of Knoxville, Tenn., was charged in the conspiracies to commit Hobbs Act robbery and to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methylone, as well as two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, and two counts of brandishing a firearm during a robbery. Lastly, Rodney James Ruffin, 21, of Sevierville, Tenn., was charged in the same indictment with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, one count of Hobbs Act robbery, and one count of brandishing a firearm during a robbery.

On Mar. 6, 2013, Jerel Bray-Shawn Johnson appeared before U.S Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley, Jr., and entered pleas of not guilty to all charges. Johnson was detained pending trial, which is set for May 14, 2013.

If these individuals are convicted, they face significant mandatory minimum terms of in prison for the firearm offenses. Schaeffer faces not less than 107 years in prison, Johnson not less than 32 years, and Ruffin not less than seven years. They each face additional prison time for the robberies and drug trafficking crimes, which must be served consecutively to the prison time imposed for the firearm offenses. There is no parole in the federal system.

This indictment is the result of an investigation by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, which includes members of the Knoxville Police Department and Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Office of James B. Dunn, District Attorney General for the Fourth Judicial District, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, and Alcoa Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracy L. Stone and Kelly A. Norris will represent the United States.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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