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Press Release

Kinston Man Sentenced For Robbery And Firearm Offenses

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

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that yesterday in federal court today, Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III, sentenced JAMES EARL SUTTON, 55, of Kinston, NC to 108 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release.


SUTTON was named in an Indictment filed on February 28, 2017 along with two other individuals, alleging conspiracy to commit robbery and subsequent counts.  SUTTON subsequently pled guilty to two counts in the Indictment, Hobbs Act robbery and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. 


The investigation began in August of 2015, after a robbery occurred at the U.S. Cellular Store in Beulaville, North Carolina.  Additional robberies occurred in Kinston, Pink Hill, Faison, Kenansville, and Snow Hill, North Carolina.  Law Enforcement identified SUTTON and co-defendants and associates Keenan Drake, Charles Nobles and Kindra Arnold, as suspects in these robberies. 


This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.


The Duplin County Sheriff’s Office, the Kenansville Police Department, the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office, the Kinston Police Department, the Snow Hill Police Department, the New Bern Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the criminal investigation of this case.  Assistant United States Attorney S. Katherine Burnette handled the prosecution of this case for the government.

Updated November 15, 2017

Firearms Offenses