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Press Release

Florida Man Sentenced To Eight Years On Bank Robbery Charges

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

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Today, U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced John Kershaw Barrette, 38, of Jacksonville, Florida, to 96 months in prison and three years of supervised release on bank robbery charges, announced R. Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. 

U.S. Attorney Murray is joined in making today’s announcement by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division.


According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, on January 3, 2017, at approximately 11:00 a.m., Barrette, wearing a faded red wig, entered the Asheville Savings Bank located at 1012 Patton Avenue, in Asheville.  Court records show that Barrette waited in line with a cellular phone to his ear, which he appeared to be using.  When it was his turn to approach the teller, Barrette handed the teller a note and placed a large envelope on the counter.  The note instructed the teller to give Barrette cash in denominations of $100 and $50.  The note also warned the teller that the envelope contained a bomb, which Barrette could remotely activate using his cellular phone.  The note further instructed the teller to wait eight minutes before calling the police.  According to court records, the teller, afraid that Barrette would activate the explosive device if she did not do as instructed, complied with Barrette’s demands.  Barrette fled the location with $3,250 in cash, leaving the purported bomb on the counter.  Court records indicate that law enforcement determined that the device was a sham.

According to filed court documents, on the same day shortly before 1:00 p.m., Barrette, wearing the same faded red wig, entered the PNC Bank located at 1007 Smokey Park Highway, in Candler, N.C.  Barrette again presented the teller with an envelope that he claimed contained a bomb and demanded money from the teller.  The teller complied out of fear that Barrette would detonate the bomb.  After receiving $3,180.00 in cash, Barrette fled the bank, leaving on the counter the envelope containing the purported bomb, which was again ultimately determined to be a sham device.  Barrette was apprehended by law enforcement shortly thereafter.

In April 2017, Barrette pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery. He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.  All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the FBI, the Asheville Police Department and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation of the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Bradley, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville, prosecuted the case.

Updated December 12, 2017