DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Robert J. Higdon, Jr.
, United States Attorney
Contact: Don Connelly

Williamston Man Sentenced to 32 Years in Federal Prison for Firearm Offenses

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that THOMAS WAYNE GODARD, 25, of Williamston, North Carolina was sentenced by United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan to 384 months imprisonment, followed by five years’ supervised release after the term of imprisonment.

 GODARD was named in a ten-count Indictment on April 27, 2016 with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, the subsequent robbery and various firearm offenses.  On August 17, 2017, GODARD pled guilty to two counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and aiding and abetting.

Two co-defendants had already been sentenced for their role in the offense.  On November 15, 2016, Tremaine Anderson pled guilty to brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and aiding and abetting.   On February 21, 2018, Anderson was sentenced to 67 months imprisonment, 5 years supervised release, and $675 restitution. 

On January 23, 2018, Keanan Dequez Bond pled guilty to two counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and aiding and abetting.  On May 23, 2018, Bond was sentenced to a total term of 384 months imprisonment, 5 years supervised release, and $167,460.83 restitution.

This investigation arose following the robberies of businesses in Beaufort, Nash and Martin counties. 

During the robbery at the Family Dollar in Williamston, GODARD and his co-defendants wore masks, pointed guns at the store clerks, placed their guns at the back of the clerks while attempting to learn where the store safe was located. During this robbery, a customer entered the store, and one of the robbers asked where he was parked, and subsequently went to the car, pointed a gun at the victim’s wife and child, demanding her cell phone and money.

During the robbery of the Dollar General in Jamesville, North Carolina, GODARD and his co-defendants again wore masks and pointed guns at the store clerk and demanded to know the safe’s location. During the robbery four customers came into the store and each were taken at gunpoint to the office and ordered to sit on the floor with their heads down.

Mr. Higdon commented: “This case and the sentence imposed on this defendant exemplify why the Attorney General and the United States Attorney’s Office is so focused on the prosecution of violent crime.  GODARD robbed businesses and endangered employees and customers in a way that puts fear in all our hearts.  It could have been anyone in the Eastern District of North Carolina working or shopping in these businesses and facing those violent criminal acts and the firearms being brandished.  This is why we will continue to pursue violent criminals and those who illegally possess and use firearms in our effort to reduce and eliminate violent crime.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Williamston Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  Assistant United States Attorney J. Frank Bradsher prosecuted this case.

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Field Division: Charlotte Field Division