First of Six Pleads Guilty in Series of Robberies, Kidnappings
Kentavia Jones Admits to Participating in Violent Crime Spree
Charlottesville, VIRGINIA – An Earlysville man, who along with others committed a series of armed and violent robberies across Albemarle and Greene counties, pled guilty today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Charlottesville to federal firearms charges, Acting United States Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle announced.
Kentavia Jones, 19, of Earlysville, Va., pled guilty today to two counts of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Jones faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in federal prison when he is sentenced April 12, 2017.
Jones, along with five others, was indicted late last year following a series of violent, armed robberies and kidnappings at local pizza chain restaurants, convenience stores, and a private residence in Albemarle and Greene County. Jones is the first defendant directly involved in multiple robberies to plead guilty in federal court.
According to evidence presented at today’s hearing by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh, Jones admitted that he participated in a robbery of the Papa John’s Pizza on Seminole Trail in Greene County in the early morning hours of June 9, 2016. Surveillance footage and victim testimony would have shown that Jones and the other two men dressed all in black, carried firearms and covered their faces in masks. They entered the store, displayed their weapons for the employees and demanded cash. The defendants stole cash and one employee’s cell phone.
In addition, Jones admitted today that he participated in the robbery of Domino’s Pizza on Towncenter Lane in Albemarle County on June 27, 2016. In this instance, Jones and a co-defendant entered the store, dressed in all black with their faces covered with masks. Inside the store, a co-defendant pointed his firearm at a store employee while Jones grabbed cash and cell phones.
Jones also admitted that on July 7, 2016 he participated in the robbery of the Domino’s Pizza on Ford Avenue in Greene County. Once at the location, Jones and another man put masks on their faces, got out of their vehicle, and ran into the store. As in the previous robbery, the co-defendant pointed his gun at store employees while Jones grabbed cash. As the defendants were running back to the car, a witness said something to the defendants, at which time one of the co-defendants fired a single shot into the air.
On July 18, 2016, Jones and two co-defendants went to an Albemarle County home to commit an armed robbery, Jones admitted in court today. The victim was inside, alone, when he heard a loud explosion. When he went to the living room, the victim saw that a propane tank had been thrown through his glass door and three masked individuals, dressed in all black, were in his living room, one of whom was armed with a pistol. Inside the house, the defendants ordered the victim to face the wall as they proceeded to ransack the house. As they were getting ready to leave, the defendants struck the victim in the head, causing him to fall to the floor. Once on the floor, Jones, and the others struck the victim again.
Jones and the two co-defendants then commanded the victim, at gunpoint, to get into the back seat of his Lexus vehicle, which was then parked in the victim’s garage. All three defendants got into the car and drove to a nearby ATM machine at the Wells Fargo bank located at the intersection of Route 29 and Airport Road in Albemarle County. Upon arrival at the bank, the defendants told the victim to get as much money as he could and return to the car. At that time, however, a second victim was observed in the bank parking lot, having just come from the nearby airport with his luggage still in hand. Jones got out of the car, pointed his gun at the traveling passerby, and ordered him to also get into the car. The second victim complied. The victim attempted to get money from the ATM machine but could not, so the victim was ordered to get back into the car.
Jones admitted the defendants then drove the victim’s car to a nearby 7-11 store, parked outside and robbed the clerk at gunpoint. Jones drove everyone away from the scene. Soon thereafter, in a nearby neighborhood, the defendants stopped the car and told both victims to get out of the car and both victims complied. The defendants drove away. The defendants later abandoned the vehicle, which was ultimately recovered by law enforcement.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Albemarle County Police Department and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher Kavanaugh and Ronald M. Huber are prosecuting the case for the United States.