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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Western District of North Carolina

For Immediate Release

Friday, June 17, 2011

Anne M. Tompkins, United States Attorney

Contact: Lia Bantavani

Federal Jury Finds Charlotte Man Guilty of Conspiracy, Armed Robbery and Use of a Firearm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A federal jury in the Western District of North Carolina, sitting in Charlotte, convicted Joseph Alexander Clinton, 35, of Charlotte, on conspiracy, armed robbery and use of a firearm, following a two-day trial which ended on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

U.S. Attorney Tompkins is joined in making today's announcement by Zebedee T. Graham, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division, and Chief Rodney D. Monroe, of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD).

On September 22, 2010, Clinton was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy and armed robbery, as well as use of a firearm in furtherance of those crimes of violence. According to the evidence presented at trial, during the course of the robbery of the Thomasboro Grocery Store in Charlotte, the defendant and his co-conspirators threatened store employees at gunpoint. During the robbery, they also stole a large amount of cash money from the store. Evidence presented at trial revealed that during flight from the robbery and to enable their escape, one of the co-conspirators shot at a uniformed police officer of CMPD who was in pursuit.

This was an especially frightening crime in which the lives of innocent bystanders were put in jeopardy and a law enforcement officer could have been killed in his attempt to capture the robbers, U.S. Attorney Tompkins said. I am thankful that no one was injured and want to express my appreciation of our law enforcement partners for the thoroughness of their investigation which helped us take this dangerous individual off our streets, Tompkins added.

The illegal use of a firearm in any violent crime is unacceptable," stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Graham. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners as a single cohesive unit to identify and prosecute those individuals that engage in this type of criminal conduct, Graham added.

We recognize the importance of strong relationships between law enforcement agencies, as collaboration is always crucial, said Chief Monroe of CMPD. Whenever there is an opportunity to share resources that will help expedite an investigation, we are more than willing to do so because the safety of our citizens is our foremost responsibility.

The defendant has been in local federal custody in Western District of North Carolina since November 10, 2010, and will remain in custody until his sentencing date, which has not been set yet. Clinton faces up to twenty years in prison for the conspiracy and armed robbery charges, and a consecutive sentence of at least five years for the firearms charge. The consecutive sentence would become at least ten years should the Court find that the firearm was discharged in furtherance of the conspiracy or armed robbery.

The investigation was handled by ATF and CMPD. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert J. Gleason and J. George Guise of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.