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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Four people indicted for two separate armed robberies in Elyria this spring

Four people were indicted for two separate armed robberies in Elyria this spring.

Joseph L. Geiger and Michael A. Ward are accused of using a firearm to rob the Marathon gas station at 503 Huron Street on May 5.

James A. Jackson and Demario J. Horton are accused of using a firearm to attempt to rob the Rally’s at 711 Cleveland Street on June 11.

The cases are otherwise unrelated.

Geiger, 31, of Cleveland, and Ward, 31, of Lorain, are charged with one count of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of using and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. Ward is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Geiger and Ward are accused of brandishing a firearm while robbing the Marathon gas station on May 5. Ward also allegedly possessed a Valor .325 revolver and three live rounds of .325-caliber ammunition on May 5, despite previous convictions for domestic violence and burglary.

Jackson, 27, of Wickliffe, and Horton, 29, of Cleveland, are charged with one count of attempted Hobbs Act robbery and one count of using and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. Horton is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Jackson and Horton are accused of brandishing a firearm on June 11 while attempting to rob the Rally’s restaurant. Horton also allegedly possessed a Glock .45-caliber pistol and ammunition, despite a previous conviction for aggravated robbery.

“Anyone who uses a firearm to threaten people who are just trying to earn a living is a danger to our community,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “These cases are another example of federal and local law enforcement working together to make us all safer.”

“Customers were simply utilizing their community businesses when these individuals brought danger in the door,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. “The FBI will continue to partner with Elyria PD and our other law enforcement partners to rid the streets of gun toting criminals.”

Elyria Police Chief Duane Whitely said: “These two cases are perfect examples of how the federal government is helping local municipalities make the cities a safer place to be.  The Elyria Police Department and the FBI worked together to solve these crimes and then took the cases to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the indictments.”

These cases are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, 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. PSN was reinvigorated 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.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal records, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Elyria Police Department. They are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Zarzycki.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Mike Tobin 216.622.3651 michael.tobin@usdoj.gov
Updated June 25, 2019