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Press Release

Durham Men Sentenced to Decades in Prison for Home Invasion Robbery and Shooting

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

RALEIGH – United States Attorney John Stuart Bruce announced that yesterday in federal court, Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, sentenced two Durham men, JAMES STEPHEN THORPE, 25, to 480 months imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release and JOSHUA RAYSHAWN MELVIN, 23, to 444 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release. The defendants were found guilty following a jury trial before Chief Judge James C. Dever, III, of Conspiracy to Interfere With Commerce by Robbery, Interfering with Commerce by Robbery, and Discharging a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence.


THORPE and MELVIN, along with two co-conspirators Jahid Preston Diggs and Ervin Montez Alston, Jr., were indicted by a federal grand jury on March 16, 2016. Diggs and Alston were previously sentenced for their role in these crimes. Diggs was sentenced to 180 months imprisonment and Austin to 192 months imprisonment.


Evidence presented at trial established that THORPE, MELVIN, and others conspired to rob one of the victims of the proceeds of a local nightclub, for which the victim was a promoter. The defendants affixed a GPS tracking device to the victim’s vehicle in an effort to track his whereabouts and to determine the location of his residence.


On or about March 16, 2015, THORPE, MELVIN, and others traveled to the victim’s Morrisville residence and conducted a violent home-invasion robbery. Multiple victims were present during the robbery, including a female child and her mother. The child was pulled from her mother’s arms, forced into a bedroom, and threatened to be drowned as the robbers demanded money from the other victims. When an adult female victim attempted to intervene, she was beaten and forced to the ground. The intended target of the robbery was shot before jumping to the ground from a second story balcony. The defendants then led police on a car chase as they fled.


U.S. Attorney Bruce stated: “Attorney General Sessions has directed that U.S. Attorneys’ Offices step up their work, in partnership with state and local law enforcement, on effective strategies to reduce violent crime. This includes federal prosecution of persons responsible for significant violent crimes in our respective districts. This case is an excellent example of how this strategy can work.”


The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Raleigh Durham Safe Streets Task Force, the Morrisville Police Department, and the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.

Updated April 6, 2017

Violent Crime