NEW BERN – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced CALVIN JAMAL SPEARMAN, 23, of Fayetteville to 174 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release and DONTRELL LAMAR WRIGHT, 24, of Fayetteville to 229 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release.
The defendants were named in a seven count Indictment on September 21, 2017. On December 14, 2017, SPEARMAN pled guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Hobbs Act Robbery and to Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence and Aiding and Abetting. On February 20, 2018, WRIGHT pled guilty to the same charges.
On January 5, 2017, officers with the Hope Mills Police Department (HMPD) responded to a reported robbery at a Subway restaurant (Subway) located at 3020 Main Street, Hope Mills, North Carolina. During the robbery, two males, later determined to be WRIGHT and SPEARMAN entered the business just prior to closing. The first to enter the business went into the bathroom. A few seconds later, another male entered the business, locked the front door behind him, put on a mask, then brandished a semiautomatic handgun. The other male then emerged from the bathroom with his face covered. WRIGHT and SPEARMAN subsequently jumped the counter and removed $350 from the register. WRIGHT and SPEARMAN forced the two employees to lie down behind the counter and ordered the employees to “stay down for ten minutes,” and stole the phone from one of the employee’s prior to fleeing the scene.
On January 15, 2017, officers with the Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) responded to a reported robbery at the Subway located at 3771 Ramsey Street, in Fayetteville. Officers determined that two males wearing hoodies and gloves (WRIGHT and SPEARMAN), one armed with a semiautomatic handgun, entered the business. A Subway employee recognized that a robbery was about to be committed and ran from the business. WRIGHT and SPEARMAN pursued the male employee and brought him back to the business at gunpoint. Once back inside, both employees were forced to lie on the ground. WRIGHT and SPEARMAN then took a cash deposit and money from the register totaling $974, demanded the employees to lie on the ground for ten minutes, and then fled the scene.
On January 21, 2017, officers with the FPD responded to a reported robbery at the Pizza Hut restaurant located at 3069 Boone Trail in Fayetteville. Officers determined that two males wearing hoodies (WRIGHT and SPEARMAN), one armed with a semiautomatic handgun with an extended magazine, had entered the business and robbed it of $1,196.95. During the robbery, WRIGHT or SPEARMAN ordered one employee to the ground, while the other approached another employee in the kitchen and ordered him/her to take him (WRIGHT or SPEARMAN) to the manager. Thereafter, WRIGHT or SPEARMAN ordered that employee to the ground and instructed the manager to take him to the safe. At gunpoint, WRIGHT or SPEARMAN subsequently had the manager open the safe and cash registers from which he took $1,196.95. WRIGHT or SPEARMAN also took an employee’s and the manager’s cell phones. Before leaving, SPEARMAN or WRIGHT ordered the employees to “stay down for ten minutes” and then fled the scene.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
In support of PSN, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina has implemented the Take Back North Carolina Initiative. This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Hope Mills Police Department, the Fayetteville Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). Assistant United States Attorney James J. Kurosad handled the prosecution of this case for the government.