David Ray Johnson, 36, of Winnsboro and Lakendria Nicole Goings, 35, of Monroe were sentenced to a total of 69 years for robbing three financial institutions at gunpoint and for multiple firearms violations, announced United States Attorney David C. Joseph.
The financial institutions involved included the Gilbert branch of WSB.
The duo were convicted on Aug. 1, following a four-day trial, of all counts submitted to the jury – 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 of two counts of convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty presided over the trial and handed down Johnson’s sentence of 41 and a half years in prison on Nov. 6, and sentenced Goings Nov. 7 to 28 years, three months in prison.
“Today’s sentence demonstrates our firm commitment to fight the menace of violent crime in the Western District of Louisiana,” Joseph said. “The lawlessness of these defendants and the terror they caused will not be tolerated.”
WSB in Gilbert was Goings’ and Johnsons’ 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.
“We were very fortunate that day with the outcome of the events,” said Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb. “I want to commend our deputies that apprehended the individuals and how they maintained composure during the high-speed chase, gun fight and capture. We ultimately put the two individuals in jail not only for the bank robbery of Gilbert WSB but two other bank robberies in northeast Louisiana.”
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 WSB robbery and was loaded with a live round in the chamber and 27 rounds in a detachable magazine.
“I also want to commend the WSB employees who had to endure the situation and had the composure and ability to give our office all the information they did,” Cobb said.
Evidence presented at trial showed that Goings and Johnson’s spree began when they robbed the Guaranty Bank branch in Epps on Nov. 10, 2017. The defendants entered the bank wearing hoodies to obscure their faces, and waiving semi-automatic handguns in the direction of customers and employees. Johnson stood at the entrance door acting as lookout and rear guard, while Goings directed the gun at the face of a bank teller, ordering the bank teller to fill a bag with money. The robbers left Guaranty Bank with approximately $17,307.
After the robbery, Epps Police Department officers and West Carroll Parish Sheriff’s 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.
The second robbery occurred on Nov. 27, 2017 at Barksdale Federal Credit Union (FCU) in Cotton Valley.
Like the robberies at WSB and Guaranty Bank, the defendants entered dressed in black, bulky hooded clothing with dark fabric covering their faces, waiving semi-automatic firearms at bank customers and employees and demanding money from the tellers. They left Barksdale FCU with $12,756.
The Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office, FBI, ATF, Louisiana State Police, East Carroll Parish Sheriff’s Office, Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, Epps Police Department, Cotton Valley Police Department, and Winnsboro Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Aaron Crawford and Brandon B. Brown prosecuted the case, aided by District Attorney Mack Lancaster’s office, Fifth Judicial District of Louisiana.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. 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.