DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
A. Lee Bentley, III
, United States Attorney
Contact: William Daniels

Former Substitute Teacher Sentenced to More than 16 Years for Multiple Armed Robberies

Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard yesterday sentenced Eddie Battles (26, Valdosta, Georgia) to 16 years and 2 months in federal prison for eleven counts of armed robbery and two counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Battles pleaded guilty on June 20, 2013.

According to court documents, Battles started robbing Dollar General stores in and around South Georgia and North Florida in November 2011. In most of the robberies, he used a loaded Hi-Point 9mm pistol. Battles acted alone until March 2012, when his brother, Eric Williams, joined in the robberies. Together, Battles and Williams robbed four Dollar General stores and one Family Dollar store in North Florida, during March and April 2012. They were caught and arrested after a robbery in Welborn, Florida on April 18, 2012.

Battles had worked as a substitute teacher in Valdosta during the time he committed the robberies. He also previously worked as an assistant manager at the Dollar General store in Lake Park, Georgia.  The Lake Park store was the first one he robbed.

Eric Williams pleaded guilty for his role in the offenses on August 21, 2013, and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 14, 2014.

This case was investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, the Suwanee County Sheriff’s Office, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Talbot.

It is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” program - a nationwide, gun-violence reduction strategy.  United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III, along with Julie Leon, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, is coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort here in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

This case is also a part of ATF’s Frontline strategy to consolidate limited law enforcement resources by deconflicting cases and coordinating efforts in critical communities.

Tampa Field Division