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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 4, 2019

North Charleston Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Mt. Pleasant Armed Robberies

Charleston, South Carolina --- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Leonard Franklin Clark, 31, of North Charleston, South Carolina, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for his role in three Mt. Pleasant robberies.  There is no parole in the federal system. 

Evidence presented by the Government established that on May 9, 2017, Leonard Clark and his codefendants robbed a grocery store located on SC Highway 41 in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.  Kalee Lynn-Bishop entered the store hours before the robbery to surveil the robbery location.  During the robbery, three masked men, including Leonard Clark and Cortlyn Brown, entered the grocery store while Kamal Backman remained in a vehicle to serve as the lookout and getaway driver.  The men that entered the grocery store carried firearms, brandishing the firearms in furtherance of the robbery.  The gunmen ordered the employees to lay face down on the floor while pointing the weapons to their heads.  The men stole $9,109.00 from the store.  

On May 12, 2017, Leonard Clark, Cortlyn Brown, and Kamal Backman robbed a bank located on Park West Boulevard, Ace Area 6 in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.  Kalee Lynn-Bishop entered the bank prior to the robbery to surveil the location.  At approximately 3:56 p.m., four masked men entered the bank armed with firearms and demanded money.  The men pointed their guns at the employees, brandishing the firearms in furtherance of the robbery.  The defendants stole $21,238.00 and an employee’s cell phone and purse.

On July 11, 2017, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Leonard Clark and a second man robbed a bank on Anna Knapp Blvd. in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.  Both men carried firearms and pointed the weapons at the bank tellers in furtherance of the robbery.  The men stole $13,227.00 from the bank, but a bank teller was able to insert a dye pack into the stolen money. 

The next day, Leonard Clark deposited $1,440.00 in dye-stained money into his bank account through an ATM in West Ashley.  That same day, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office performed a traffic stop on the defendant’s registered vehicle while he was the sole occupant and driver of the vehicle.  During a subsequent search of the vehicle, officers located a Springfield 9mm firearm with an extended magazine containing 19 rounds and one in the chamber.  The firearm was reported stolen from Coastal Firearms in Cainhoy, South Carolina.  Officers also located $2,735.00 in cash on Leonard Clark’s person.

On July 21, 2017, investigators obtained a search warrant for Leonard Clark’s North Charleston residence.  The sink in the master bathroom was covered in red dye, and investigators recovered dye-stained cash from numerous areas in the master bedroom.  Investigators also located an empty Smith & Wesson box, black gloves, a black and camo mask, and bank documents for Leonard Clark in the master bedroom.

Shortly thereafter, officers initiated a traffic stop on Leonard Clark’s vehicle.  A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed items consistent with Clark’s involvement in the robberies:  a white and black bandana and a black ski mask in the back seat, black gloves with blue trim, a loaded Smith & Wesson magazine, and a silver and black Smith & Wesson handgun stained with red dye.  The handgun had the same serial number as the empty Smith & Wesson box located in Clark’s bedroom at the North Charleston residence. 

The Honorable Richard M. Gergel, who sentenced Clark, previously sentenced Clark’s three codefendants, Cortlyn DaQuan Brown, 23; Kamal De’Andrea Backman, 21; and Kalee Lynn-Bishop, 25, all of Mt. Pleasant, for their roles in the grocery store and bank robberies.  Cortlyn Brown received a 10-year federal prison sentence on November 6, 2018.  Kamal Backman received a 108-month sentence on January 25, 2019.  Kalee Lynn-Bishop received a 44-month sentence on November 6, 2018.

The convictions are the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Mt. Pleasant Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Emily Limehouse of the Charleston office and JD Rowell of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.

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Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Lance Crick (864) 282-2105
Updated February 4, 2019