Memphis, TN – After a three-day jury trial with proper COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Frederick Coleman, 29, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit multiple armed business robberies and brandishing a firearm during crimes of violence, in the first post-COVID-19 federal trial held in Memphis. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced the guilty verdict today.
According to information presented in court, from July 8, 2019-July 15, 2019, Coleman and co-defendant Raphael Hall, committed three armed business robberies at the following locations in Memphis: Dixie Queen at 4092 S. Third Street; Waffle House at 4313 American Way; and Captain D’s at 2238 Frayser Boulevard. Hall was the gunman and Coleman served as the lookout and getaway driver in the robberies. In the Waffle House robbery, Coleman entered the business, but stayed at the door holding a silver revolver, while Hall pointed a shotgun at the cashier and then took the money.
On January 14, 2020, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Hall and Coleman, charging them with the 3 business robberies affecting interstate commerce and brandishing a firearm during those crimes of violence. On September 15, 2020, Hall pled guilty as charged, and has yet to be sentenced.
On October 8, 2020, the jury found Coleman guilty of the robberies and firearms offenses involving the Waffle House and Captain D’s businesses. The jury was unable to reach a verdict as to the charges involving the Dixie Queen.
Sentencing is set for January 8, 2021, before U.S. District Court Judge Jon P. McCalla, where Coleman faces sentences of up to 20 years in federal prison and $250,000 fine for each of the business robberies, and a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of 7 years imprisonment for each firearm offense.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Business owners and employees have a fundamental right to be safe from armed robbers who terrorize our communities with their lawlessness. The senselessness of gun violence has a long lasting effect on victims of armed robbery, and we will no longer allow gun crime to rule our streets. This verdict sends a clear message that there will always be a reckoning, a real and significant consequence, for the commission of violent crimes."
The FBI’s Safe Street Task Force investigated this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Whitmore is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.