Federal jury convicts northeast Louisiana couple for armed bank robbery spree
MONROE, La. – United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced today that a federal jury in Monroe convicted two northeast Louisiana residents for robbing three financial institutions at gunpoint and for multiple firearms violations. The verdict came in this afternoon following a four-day trial, which was presided over by U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty.
Lakendria Nicole Goings, 35, of Monroe, and David Ray Johnson, 36, of Winnsboro, Louisiana, were convicted of all counts submitted to the jury – two counts of bank robbery, one count of credit union robbery, and three counts of using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. In addition, Johnson was found guilty of two counts of convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
“Today’s verdict brings justice for the victims of these armed robberies and reinforces my office’s resolve to assist those Louisiana communities that suffer under the menace of violent crime,” said David C. Joseph, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. “We cannot undo the terror these defendants caused during their rampage, but we can take solace that they have been held accountable by a jury of their peers, and will be spending substantial time in federal prison as a result of their crimes. I am thankful for the extraordinary efforts and teamwork of the federal and local law enforcement officers that investigated these crimes and those Franklin Parish Sheriff’s deputies who put their lives on the line to stop the defendants before anyone was hurt.”
Evidence presented at trial showed that Goings and Johnson’s spree began when they robbed the Guaranty Bank branch in Epps, Louisiana on November 10, 2017. The defendants entered the bank wearing hoodies to obscure their faces, and waiving semi-automatic handguns in the direction of customers and employees. Johnson stood at the entrance door acting as lookout and rear guard, while Goings directed the gun at the face of a bank teller, ordering the bank teller to fill a bag with money. The robbers left Guaranty Bank with approximately $17,307. After the robbery, Epps Police Department officers and West Carroll Parish Sheriff’s detectives found a cloth work glove worn by Johnson during the robbery, several rolls of coins, and a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun, in a vacant lot close to the bank. DNA from the glove matched David Ray Johnson’s DNA, which was in a North Carolina DNA database as a result of Johnson’s 2012 felony conviction for financial card theft.
The second and third robberies occurred on November 27, 2017 (Barksdale Federal Credit Union in Cotton Valley, Louisiana), and December 18, 2017 (Winnsboro State Bank in Gilbert, Louisiana). On both occasions the defendants entered dressed in black, bulky hooded clothing with dark fabric covering their faces, waiving semi-automatic firearms at bank customers and employees and demanding money from the tellers. They left Barksdale FCU with $12,756, and Winnsboro State Bank with $28,447.
After the robbers left Winnsboro State Bank with a duffel bag full of money, Franklin Parish Sheriff’s deputies located the getaway car and began a high-speed chase with the defendants’ Toyota Sequoia, sometimes exceeding 100 mph. During the chase, Johnson, who was driving, pointed a semi-automatic handgun out of the driver’s window and fired several times at the deputies. The vehicle later crashed in a residential area in Winnsboro, Louisiana, and the defendants surrendered to authorities. Johnson exited the vehicle with a .40 caliber pistol in his hand, loaded with a round in the chamber and four live rounds in the magazine, which dropped to the ground as he submitted to arrest. This .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol was of the same make, model and caliber handgun that investigators found in the vacant lot near the Guaranty Bank robbery in Epps.
In the Sequoia, deputies found a duffel bag with $28,477 in cash, black clothing, hooded jackets, black fabric consistent with the masks worn during the robberies, and paper coin wrappers bearing handwritten account numbers belonging to Barksdale FCU customers. Officers also found a Double Star Brand, Model Star 15, .223-caliber semi-automatic AR-type rifle, which Johnson had just brandished in the Winnsboro State Bank robbery, loaded with a live round in the chamber and 27 rounds in a detachable magazine.
Goings and Johnson face seven years in prison for each count of using of a weapon during a crime of violence and 25 years in prison for each count of bank robbery. Johnson faces up to 10 years for discharging the weapon during the high speed chase, and he also faces up to 10 years in prison for the convicted felon in possession of a firearm counts. Judge Doughty set the sentencing date for David Ray Johnson on November 6, 2019, and for Lakendria Nicole Goings on November 7, 2019.
The FBI, ATF, Louisiana State Police, Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office, East Carroll Parish Sheriff’s Office, Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, Epps Police Department, Cotton Valley Police Department, and Winnsboro Police Department investigated the case, and the federal prosecution was greatly aided by District Attorney Mack Lancaster’s office, Fifth Judicial District of Louisiana. Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Aaron Crawford and Brandon B. Brown prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. Project Safe Neighborhoods is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.