DOJ-USA Seal
U.S. Department of Justice


United States Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña
Northern District of Texas

 

 

 
 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA INQUIRIES: KATHY COLVIN

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2011
http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txn/

 

 


 

 

FEDERAL JURY CONVICTS DALLAS COUPLE ON CONSPIRACY,
OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE AND FIREARMS CHARGES

Moses Coppin Robbed Women at Gunpoint in Oak Lawn


DALLAS
— After 15 minutes of deliberation yesterday afternoon, a federal jury in Dallas convicted Moses Coppin and his girlfriend, Tameka Estelle Bennett, on conspiracy, obstruction of justice and firearms charges stemming from Coppin’s armed robbery, and subsequent arrest, for robbing women at gunpoint in a residence in the Oak Lawn area of Dallas. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

Specifically, the jury convicted both Coppin, 30, and Bennett, 36, on one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice through evidence concealment and one count of aiding and abetting obstruction of justice through evidence concealment. In addition, Coppin was convicted on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Bennett was also convicted on one count of obstruction of justice and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Both Coppin and Bennet have extensive criminal histories; they are to be sentenced on March 28, 2012, by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade.

The government presented evidence at trial that Coppin, along with an accomplice, using a ruse to gain access, committed the armed robbery of two women at a residence on Holland Avenue in Oak Lawn on October 29, 2010. Coppin and his accomplice threatened the women at gunpoint and stole numerous valuable items, including a safe and jewelry, from the residence. Coppin was arrested on November 3, 2010, and had in his possession the firearm he used in the robbery.

The government also presented evidence that soon after the robbery, Coppin took the stolen safe to Bennett’s house in Dallas, and later torched it. He gave Bennett 34 pieces of the stolen jewelry, as well as three firearms, but kept the firearm he used in the robbery. Bennett got rid of the torched safe the night Coppin was arrested. She then relocated from Dallas to Lancaster, taking guns and stolen jewelry with her and burying them adjacent to her property in Lancaster.
In April 2011, pursuant to a state search warrant, law enforcement dug up Bennett’s back yard, but did not find the property. Testimony showed that the night after the officers completed their unsuccessful search of the property, she dug up the guns and jewelry and moved them several times before hiding the jewelry and small firearm by sewing them into a mattress and hiding the two long-barreled firearms under a floorboard in her closet.

In recorded jail conversations between Coppin and Bennett, they discussed finding someone to falsify information, or provide false testimony, as to how the firearm got into Coppin’s car before he was arrested. In fact, testimony showed that Bennett approached an individual and offered to pay him if he would provide false testimony.

Evidence presented also showed that Bennet had removed some data from Coppin’s phone before police could retrieve the phone, but when it was later examined, there were two photographs of women wearing the victim’s stolen jewelry.

The conspiracy count, as well as the aiding and abetting obstruction of justice count, each carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each of the felon in possession of a firearm counts, and the obstruction of justice count, carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case is being investigated by the Dallas Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Lancaster Police Department and the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cara Foos Pierce and Brandon McCarthy.

 

###