Federal Jury Convicts Man of String of Violent Convenience Store Robberies in the Triangle
GREENVILLE – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that today, JOHN DEVERE BATTLE, 25, of Durham, was convicted in a four-day jury trial before Senior United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard. The jury found BATTLE guilty of 12 counts including Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery, Interference with commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting, four-counts of Brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and aiding and abetting, Interference with commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting, Taking motor vehicle by force, violence and intimidation with intent to cause serious bodily injury, and aiding and abetting, Bank robbery and aiding and abetting, two-counts of Possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.
The evidence at trial showed that on May 14, 2016 BATTLE and others robbed the Kangaroo gas station located at 1807 North Harrison Avenue in Cary at gunpoint. On June 15, 2016, BATTLE and others robbed the Quality Mart gas station located at 7411 Chapel Hill Road in Cary at gunpoint. On June 16, 2016, BATTLE and others committed a home invasion in Cary. During the home invasion, BATTLE and others robbed the victims at gunpoint, tied up the victims and threatened to kill them. One of the victims was pistol-whipped. BATTLE and others took one of the victims at gunpoint to a bank in Cary and forced the victim to withdraw money. The evidence also established that BATTLE was arrested on June 17, 2016 after the execution of a search warrant at a home in Wendell, NC. During the execution of the search warrant, a handgun was recovered along with numerous stolen items taken from the home invasion.
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.
At sentencing, currently scheduled for September 11, 2018, BATTLE faces a mandatory 82 years federal prison sentence.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Cary Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), Durham Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, and Wendell Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Peggah B. Wilson and Ethan A. Ontjes represented the government in this case.