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Williamston man sentenced for firearms offenses

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The Daily Reflector

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Williamston man has been sentenced to 32 years in prison on federal robbery and firearms convictions.

Thomas Wayne Godard, 25, pled guilty in August to two counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and aiding and abetting. Two co-defendants already had been sentenced for their role in the offense.

The charges stemmed from robberies of businesses in Beaufort, Nash and Martin counties, according to a news release from the federal Attorney General’s office

During a robbery at the Family Dollar in Williamston, Godard and his co-defendants wore masks, pointed guns at the store clerks and placed their guns at the back of the clerks while attempting to learn where the store safe was located, the release said. During this robbery, a customer entered the store. 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 and demanded her cellphone and money.

During the robbery of a Dollar General in Jamesville, 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.

United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. Higdon said the case and the sentence “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,” Higdon said. “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.” 

Godard’s co-defendants also received prison sentences.

In November 2016, Tremaine Anderson pled guilty to brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and aiding and abetting. In February, Anderson was sentenced to five years and 7 months imprisonment, five years supervised release and $675 restitution.

In January, 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, he was sentenced to a total term of 32 years imprisonment, five years supervised release, and $167,460.83 restitution.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone.

U.S. Attorney’s Offices are working 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. Assistant United States Attorney J. Frank Bradsher prosecuted this case. 

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