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Press Release

Six Sentenced in Federal Court for Gun Charges in Robbery Scheme

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

FLORENCE, S.C. — Three men from the Pee Dee region and three men from New York were sentenced after pleading guilty to their roles in a robbery and related firearms crimes.

  • Elijah N. Fitts, 23, of Rochester, New York, was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. 
  • Zion Hezekiah Fitts, 24, of Rochester, New York, was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
  • Dorian Javon Godbolt, 24, of Darlington, was sentenced to more than five years in prison after pleading guilty to aiding and abetting robbery.
  • Harkeem Dewayne Siequan Kennedy, 26, of Florence, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
  • Fanotti Nacier Neal, 21, of Effingham, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license. 
  • Nasir Schifano, 21, of Greece, New York, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license.

Evidence presented to the court showed that just after midnight on March 29, 2022, officers with Florence Police Department responded to a shooting at an apartment complex in Florence.  Investigators learned that Godbolt had arranged for Kennedy to come to the apartment complex to sell E. Fitts and Z. Fitts a quantity of marijuana, knowing that E. Fitts and Z. Fitts planned to rob Kennedy. Kennedy arrived at the apartment complex in the passenger seat of a car. Z. Fitts came to the passenger window of the car to conduct the drug deal while E. Fitts stood at the rear of the car. Kennedy provided Z. Fitts a quantity of marijuana. Z. Fitts then pulled a firearm from his hoodie, pointed it at Kennedy and told Kennedy to "give him everything." At that point, shots began to be fired. Several witnesses reported shots coming from the rear of the car, where E. Fitts was standing. Kennedy also pulled a gun and fired shots.

After obtaining information indicating that the robbers came from a particular apartment, law enforcement executed a search warrant at that apartment. Inside, law enforcement found several of those charged, a number of firearms, magazines, ammunition, and a receipt for the purchase of a firearm. Further investigation showed that Neal, Schifano, and others were involved in a conspiracy to deal in firearms without a federal firearms license. The conspirators would purchase firearms in South Carolina, display them in social media videos, negotiate the terms of sale for the firearms via text, and transfer the firearms to others. 

“This violent incident has resulted in six defendants spending more than two decades in prison,” said Adair F. Boroughs, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina. “Outstanding investigative work, led by the Florence Police Department and ATF, has made this community safer.”

“The individuals sentenced throughout this case were responsible for a number of violent crimes and sought to put more firearms in the hands of prohibited individuals,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Bennie Mims. “ATF and our law enforcement partners are focused on shutting down illegal firearms sales and preventing those with criminal intent from harming our communities.”

“We want to take this opportunity to thank our federal law enforcement partners for the indictment of these violent offenders and their subsequent guilty pleas, said Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler. “Law enforcement partnerships, as evidenced here, are a key element in the fight against violent crime. It serves as another notice to violent offenders that Florence area law enforcement, from the federal level down to the local level, will continue our collaborative efforts to bring them to justice.”

United States District Judge Joseph Dawson, III sentenced all six individuals. Elijah N. Fitts was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment.  Zion Hezekiah Fitts was sentenced to 84 months imprisonment.  Dorian Javon Godbolt was sentenced to 63 months imprisonment.  Harkeem Dewayne Siequan Kennedy was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment. Fanotti Nacier Neal was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment; Neal’s term of imprisonment on the firearms conspiracy will be run concurrently with a 40-year term of imprisonment on an unrelated State conviction.  Nasir Schifano was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment.  There is no parole in the federal system.  Neal’s term of imprisonment will be followed by an 18-month term of court-ordered supervision. Kennedy, Godbolt and Schifano’s terms of imprisonment will be followed by three-year terms of court-ordered supervision. E. Fitts and Z. Fitts’ terms of imprisonment will be followed by five-year terms of court-ordered supervision. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  On May 26, 2021, the department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results. 

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Florence Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Flynn prosecuted the case.



MEDIA CONTACT:   Veronica Hill, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Attorney’s Office,, (803) 929-3000

Updated June 11, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods