Baltimore Man Sentenced to 19 Years in Federal Prison for His Role in the Robbery and Murder of a Drug Dealer
Baltimore, Maryland – James Atkinson, age 28, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to an armed robbery.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, on February 23, 2018, Atkinson went to a Baltimore car rental agency and requested that the security deposit for a vehicle “his wife” had recently rented be returned to him. In reality, “his wife” was a drug customer of Atkinson’s, whom Atkinson would direct to rent cars on his behalf in return for drugs and/or cash. The rental agency employee checked the company’s records and discovered that the rental car had been returned with multiple bullet holes in the car door. The employee advised that the security deposit would not be returned until the repairs had been paid for. Atkinson then asked if there were any vehicles available to rent, but there were no vehicles available. The employee asked Atkinson to leave because he was closing up for the night.
Atkinson pointed a revolver at the employee and demanded money. Atkinson stole $405 from the employee’s desk drawer, and the victim’s phone and wallet, which contained $207. Atkinson then demanded a car and the victim advised that there were keys to a car in the back room. Atkinson went back and took the keys to a black Hyundai Elantra, then produced a stun gun and began to shock the victim on the arm while he was kneeling on the floor. Atkinson ordered the victim into an adjacent room. The victim walked into the room, then ran up the stairs. Atkinson left the office and departed in the Elantra.
The victim ran downstairs, called 911, and began cancelling the credit cards that were in his stolen wallet. Investigation determined that Atkinson attempted to make two unauthorized purchases using a credit and debit card stolen from the victim. One of the attempts was on the website of a large retailer and included Atkinson’s name, address, and telephone number.
Atkinson and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Atkinson will be sentenced to 12 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for November 28, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Burden H. Walker and James G. Warwick, who are prosecuting the case.