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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Mississippi

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Jackson Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison under Project EJECT for Armed Robbery of a Dollar General

Jackson, Miss – Joshua Cowards, 29, of Jackson, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate to serve 180 months in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, after being convicted of robbing a Dollar General in Jackson and brandishing a firearm during the robbery, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Michelle A. Sutphin, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Violent crime will result in Federal time in this district. We will not stand for people being victimized and violence being perpetuated on our citizens.  This is a great example of the team work by our partners on the Project EJECT Task Force.  I sincerely appreciate the swift response by Jackson police officers, and all of our law enforcement partners and our prosecutors.  This violent criminal has now been ejected from our Capital City, and our citizens can rest a little easier knowing that justice has been served,” said U.S. Attorney Hurst.

On September 23, 2018, Cowards and Tyriek Lackey arrived at a Dollar General store in Jackson, Mississippi, armed with handguns.  Cowards and Lackey held two store employees at gunpoint while demanding money from cash registers and from the store’s office.  Jackson Police officers responded swiftly to the store, and were able to capture Lackey.  However, Cowards avoided apprehension at that time.

On November 27, 2018, Cowards and Lackey were indicted by a federal grand jury for Hobbs Act Robbery and Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Violent Crime.  On December 20, 2019, after a five-day trial, Cowards was found guilty of both charges by a federal jury.  Lackey pled guilty before Judge Wingate on October 7, 2019, to Hobbs Act Robbery and Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Violent Crime. Lackey’s sentencing date is pending.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Candace Mayberry and Bert Carraway.

This case is part of Project EJECT, an initiative by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) and Project Guardian. EJECT is a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to fighting and reducing violent crime through prosecution, prevention, re-entry and awareness. EJECT stands for “Empower Justice Expel Crime Together.” PSN is bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.

Topic(s): 
Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Updated May 12, 2020