Seven Set to Appear in Court for Their Alleged Involvement in Violent Crimes Throughout Houston Area
HOUSTON – A grand jury in Houston has returned three separate indictments charging a total of eight Houston men with robbery and using firearms during these crimes of violence, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The indictments represent a joint initiative aimed at reducing violent takeover robberies of local businesses by organized crews of armed robbers.
The eight men had been in state custody on related charges. All but one - Joe Gutierrez, 19 - are set to appear today at 10:00 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Palermo. The separate, but similar indictments were all returned Feb. 21, 2018.
Those charged in the first case include Gutierrez, Derrick Isaiah Stewart, 19, and Patrick Earl Cooper Jr., 20. A father and son are charged in a separate indictment - Marcus Hargove, 45, and Christopher Michael Carmon, 26, while the remaining three - Deamonta Frederick Taylor, 22, Joshua Marquise Turner, 22, and Kevin Eugene Harrison, 22 – are charged together in the third case.
The first indictment alleges four specific robberies of local pawn shops, during which the defendants stole firearms, cash and jewelry. Stewart, Gutierrez and Cooper are charged with aiding and abetting interference with commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting use, brandishing and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Specifically, on Sep. 28, 2017, Cooper and others allegedly robbed the Cash America Pawn at gunpoint on 6015 Lyons Street, during which time a firearm was discharged. Six days later, Stewart and others allegedly robbed the Cash America Pawn at gunpoint on 5219 Airline Drive. The indictment alleges that later in October, Stewart and Cooper joined forces to rob the Cash America Pawn at 8223 North Freeway at gunpoint. Cooper, Stewart and Gutierrez were finally captured and arrested Oct. 31, 2017, after allegedly robbing the Cash America Pawn at 1816 North Durham Street at knifepoint.
Hargove and his son - Carmon - are charged in the second case with aiding and abetting interference with commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting use and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Specifically, they are suspected in multiple armed robberies of MetroPCS stores which occurred between October and November 2017. The son is charged in three robberies, two of which were allegedly committed with his father. The indictment alleges that during each of the robberies, they took turns going into the store and ordered employees to give them cash from the cash register.
In the final case, Taylor, Turner and Harrison are charged in connection with a spree of commercial robberies occurring in November 2017. Taylor is charged with five counts of interference with commerce by robbery and five counts of aiding and abetting use and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, while Turner and Harrison are charged with one count each of these crimes. Between Nov. 2-8, 2017, Taylor is alleged to have robbed three different MetroPCS stores and one Subway restaurant in the Northwest Houston area, while Taylor, Turner and Harrison allegedly robbed a Cricket Wireless store in Northwest Houston on Nov. 9, 2017. Taylor, Turner and Harrison were apprehended Nov. 9, 2017, immediately after the commission of their last robbery, according to the indictment.
If convicted, the men face a sentence of up to 20 years on the robbery charges. The firearms offenses carry a minimum of seven years for the first conviction, while an additional conviction carries a 25-year minimum sentence. Those charges must also be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed. They also face up to $250,000 in fines for any of the offenses.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Houston Police Department were involved in all three of the investigations. The Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office assisted with the Cash America robbery investigations, while the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety were the co-investigators on the other two matters.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather Winter, Jennie Basile and Richard Hanes are prosecuting the three cases, respectively.
The indictments are an example of coordination between law enforcement who are part of the Houston Law Enforcement Violent Crime Initiative. The goal is to proactively fight and reduce violent crime across the Greater Houston area by targeting the region’s most violent offenders, augmenting investigative and prosecutorial efforts, and enhancing training, public awareness and education.
The cases are brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In late 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.