Charleston, South Carolina --- United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr., announced today that D’Angelo Antonio Coakley, 30, of Mount Pleasant, was sentenced via teleconference to 24 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a series of armed robberies that culminated in a high-speed chase and shots fired at South Carolina Highway Patrol Officers.
“It’s important for those who choose to commit crimes to know that even in the pandemic the U.S. Attorney’s Office is open for business,” said U.S. Attorney McCoy. “We will hold those who break the law accountable.”
Evidence presented to the court showed Coakley was charged along with three co-defendants: Julius Hamilton Washington, 29, of Summerville; Malik Juwan Gadist, 23, of Mount Pleasant; and Paul Anthony Walker, 24, of Goose Creek. The four were indicted in 2018 and charged with robbing multiple businesses and business employees at gunpoint. Information provided at Coakley’s guilty plea established that the four defendants conspired to commit multiple armed robberies of businesses, including a Dollar General Store in Awendaw, a Verizon Store in Summerville, and a Verizon Store in Waxhaw, North Carolina.
The string of robberies ended shortly after the four robbed the Verizon Store in Waxhaw on February 10, 2017. Like in other robberies, the four held the store employee at gunpoint while they stole cell phones and electronic devices from the store’s safe. Immediately after the robbery the defendants were tracked from North Carolina into South Carolina, where Troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol located their car and attempted to stop them. The defendants did not stop, and instead fled at high speeds and fired shots at the pursuing Troopers. No Troopers were hit by the shots, and the pursuing Troopers were eventually able to push the defendants’ car into a median where it crashed, and all four defendants fled. Investigators were able to identify each defendant and determine their involvement in the crimes.
Coakley is the third defendant to be sentenced. Defendant Walker was previously sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, defendant Gadist was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, and defendant Washington has yet to be sentenced.
United States District Court Judge David C. Norton sentenced Coakley to 288 months in federal prison, to be followed by a five-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system. The sentencing was conducted virtually by telephone under the CARES Act passed by Congress last month, so that the parties did not appear in the courtroom.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, Richland County Sheriff’s Department, South Carolina Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, and Waxhaw, North Carolina, Police Department.
This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Williams of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.
Derek A. Shoemake (843) 813-0982