David Ray Johnson, 36, of Winnsboro and Lakendria Nicole Goings, 35, of Monroe, were convicted by a federal jury in Monroe for robbing three financial institutions at gunpoint and for multiple firearms violations, said U.S. Attorney General David C. Joseph.
Winnsboro State Bank’s Gilbert Branch was one of three financial institutions hit by the robbers.
The verdict came after the jury deliberated four days. U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty presided over the trial and set the sentencing date for Johnson on Nov. 6 and Goings on Nov. 7.
The duo were convicted of all counts submitted to the jury. Convictions handed down were two counts of bank robbery, one count of credit union robbery and three counts of using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.
In addition, Johnson was found guilty to two counts of convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Goings and Johnson face seven years in prison for each count of using a weapon during a crime of violence and 25 years in prison for each count of bank robbery. Johnson faces up to 10 years for discharging the weapon during a high-speed chase, and he also faces up to 10 years in prison for a convicted felon in possession of a firearm count.
Winnsboro State Bank in Gilbert was Goings’ and Johnson’s third robbery in their spree.
On Dec. 18, 2017, the defendants entered the bank dressed in black, bulky hooded clothing with dark fabric covering their faces, waiving semi-automatic firearms at bank customers and employees demanding money from tellers, according to attorney general statements.
They left Gilbert with $28,447 and led Franklin Parish Sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase, at times exceeding 100 mph. During the chase, Johnson, who was driving, pointed a semi-automatic handgun out of the driver’s window and fired several times at the deputies, according to attorney general statements.
After their escape vehicle, a Toyota Sequoia, crashed on Fourth Street in Winnsboro, Johnson exited with a .40 caliber pistol in his hand, loaded with a round in the chamber and four live rounds in the magazine, which dropped to the ground as he submitted to arrest, according to attorney general statements.
In the Toyota Sequoia, deputies found a duffel bag with $28,477 in cash, black clothing, hooded jackets, black fabric consistent with the masks worn during the robberies, and paper coin wrappers bearing handwritten account numbers belonging to Barksdale FCU customers. Officers also found a Double Star Brand, Model Star 15 and a .223-caliber semi-automatic AR-type rifle, according to attorney general statements. Johnson brandished the rifle during the Winnsboro State Bank robbery and was loaded with a live round in the chamber and 27 rounds in a detachable magazine.
Goings’ and Johnson’s first robbery was at Guaranty Bank’s Epps branch on Nov. 10, 2017. Again, they used semi-automatic handguns and wore hoodies to obscure their faces. The robbers left Guaranty Bank with approximately $17,307.
After the robbery, Epps Police Department officers and West Carroll Parish Sheriff detectives found a cloth work glove worn by Johnson during the robbery, several rolls of coins and a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun, in a vacant lot close to the bank. DNA from the glove matched Johnson’s DNA, which was in a North Carolina DNA database as a result of Johnson’s 2012 felony conviction for financial card theft, according to attorney general statements.
The second robbery occurred on Nov. 27, 2017 at Barksdale Federal Credit Union in Cotton Valley. Similar to Epps and Gilbert robberies, Goings and Johnson were dressed in black and waived semi-automatic firearms at customers and tellers. They left Barksdale FCU with $12,756.
The FBI, ATF, Louisiana State Police, Franklin Parish Sheriff’s office, Winnsboro Police Department, East Carroll Parish Sheriff’s office, Webster Parish Sheriff’s office, Epps Police Department and Cotton Valley Police Department investigated the case.
The federal prosecution was aided by District Attorney Mack Lancaster’s office, Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Aaron Crawford, and Brandon B. Brown prosecuted the case.
The Johnson and Goings case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.
Project Safe Neighborhoods is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crimes, Joseph said. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.
As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime, Johnson said.