Federal jury convicts two men involved in multiple armed robberies
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today that two men were found guilty by a federal jury, following a nearly three week trial at the Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse in Charleston.
Darrell E. Gillespie, 29, of Smyrna, Georgia; and Jamaa I. Johnson, 34, of Wytheville, Virginia; were found guilty of conspiracies to commit armed robbery and to use firearms in crimes of violence, as well as offenses relating to obstruction of justice.
The conspiracy involved armed robberies dating back to the fall of 2011 in Pittsburgh. Gillespie, joined by co-defendants Brandon Davis and Robert Barcliff, traveled to Pittsburgh to rob a drug dealer that Davis knew. After the robbery, the men came back to Charleston to split up marijuana stolen in the robbery.
Over the next four months, Gillespie, or his co-conspirators, participated in six more robberies in West Virginia and Virginia. All involved firearms, and during the Jan. 18, 2012 robbery of Cabell Franklin in Charleston, committed by at least Robert Barcliff and Brandon Davis, Cabell Franklin was shot in the leg and stabbed.
Throughout the trial, multiple victims and co-conspirators of Johnson and Gillespie took the stand to testify against the two men. Barcliff, Davis and Glenn all testified to the defendants’ involvement in the robberies, the use of firearms and the conspiracy to commit the crimes. Barcliff and Megan Smith, Johnson’s ex-girlfriend, also testified to the defendants’ efforts to cover up the crimes.
Barcliff testified that he and Gillespie worked out a false alibi for a robbery that took place March 22, 2012, in Bristol, Virginia. The two men planned to use a female friend, who was uninvolved in the crimes, to say she had been with Gillespie that entire night. The friend said she received calls from a person identifying himself as DJ, a known nickname for Gillespie, who asked her to provide a false alibi for him. She refused.
Johnson was found guilty of witness tampering by attempting to use Smith, his ex-girlfriend, to craft his false alibi. Smith said Johnson sent her a letter requesting her to “please get this prepared” and “I need you to really remember that trip you took to see me.” He was referring to a fake trip to Richmond, Virginia, but Smith confirmed that trip never happened, and that she drove him instead to Charleston on January 18, 2012, the day of the Franklin robbery, so he could destroy evidence.
Gillespie faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years, and up to life, in prison when he is sentenced on May 6, 2015. Johnson faces up to 45 years in prison when he is sentenced on May 6, 2015.
United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston presided over the trial.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, South Charleston Police Department and Charleston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Monica D. Coleman, Meredith Thomas and Timothy Boggess were in charge of the prosecution.