(STL.News) – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Jeremiah Edwards, 34, Madison, Wisconsin, was found guilty yesterday evening of armed robbery of an O’Reilly Auto Parts store, brandishing a firearm during that crime, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing THC-products with an intent to distribute, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of that drug trafficking crime. The jury reached its verdict after 7 hours of deliberations following four days of testimony in federal court in Madison.
The evidence presented at trial showed the Edwards, along with Kanasha Woods, 25, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, robbed the O’Reilly Auto Parts Store on South Stoughton Road in the Town of Blooming Grove, Wisconsin, on November 8, 2018. Both Edwards and Woods brandished firearms during the robbery and obtained cash from the safe and cash register drawers. Edwards and Woods fled the scene in Edwards’s vehicle and drove to the Moorish Science Temple in downtown Madison where Madison police officers attempted a traffic stop. Edwards evaded the stop and led the police in a high-speed chase through downtown Madison that ended with him crashing the vehicle and fleeing on foot.
During a search of the getaway vehicle, officers found the robbery proceeds, a ski mask and gloves used by Woods in the armed robbery, a receipt from Walmart showing the purchase of the mask and gloves, and a tactical light/laser that was on the firearm used by Edwards during the robbery. Officers also found a variety of marijuana and THC products in individually packaged portions with home-made labels with skull & crossbones in the names of “OG” and “LK.” During a second search of the vehicle, officers found a loaded 9mm Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol along with a black stocking hat with a green Moorish star on it in a hidden compartment in the ceiling of the vehicle behind a sunglasses holder. Analysts from the Wisconsin State Crime Lab in Madison testified that the Glock 19 and the black stocking hat contained Edwards’s DNA.
The government also presented evidence that four hours after the robbery, Edwards drained his bank account at an ATM in a laundromat located just one mile from the crash site, and fled to Chicago using a fake ID in the name of Henry Gilmore. Edwards was arrested in Chicago on March 11, 2019.
At trial, Woods testified that after attending services at the Moorish Science Temple in Madison on the day of the robbery, she was told by Caliph Muab-el, the Grand Sheik of the Temple (and Edwards’s brother), to get into Edwards’ vehicle and that she could trust Edwards that he would drive her home safely. Woods testified that Edwards told her he made and sold THC products, and that he supplied the marijuana and THC products that she was selling on behalf of Caliph Muab-el. Edwards offered her two exotic strains of marijuana to sample. After smoking the marijuana, Edwards pulled out the Glock and pointed it at Woods and told her he wanted her help as a lookout for a robbery. He told her she could “make some money or get hurt.” He then drove her to a Walmart and gave her $20, and told her to buy a mask and gloves for the robbery. Edwards then drove to the O’Reilly store and circled around it a number of times waiting for customers to leave the store. Once the parking lot was empty, Edwards and Woods entered the store brandishing pistols and ordered the store manager to show Edwards the safe. Edwards was unhappy with the three-minute time delay on the safe and threatened the manager by racking his gun and telling the manager, “don’t make me f*** you up.”
Woods pleaded guilty to the armed robbery of the O’Reilly store on March 25, 2019. She was sentenced on June 19, 2019, to 42 months in prison.
Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson scheduled Edwards’s sentencing for April 17, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. Edwards faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years on the robbery charge, 10 years on the felon in possession charge, and five years on the drug charge. He also faces a mandatory minimum penalty of seven years on the brandishing charge during the robbery, and another mandatory minimum penalty of five years on the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime. Federal law requires that the mandatory seven-year and five-year gun sentences be served consecutively to each other, and to any sentence imposed on the robbery charge, the drug charge, and the felon in possession charge.
The charges against Edwards and Woods are the result of an investigation by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Madison Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorneys Chadwick M. Elgersma and Daniel J. Graber handled the prosecution.
This case has been brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the U.S. Justice Department’s program to reduce violent crime. The PSN approach emphasizes coordination between state and federal prosecutors and all levels of law enforcement to address gun crime, especially felons illegally possessing firearms and ammunition, and violent crimes and drug crimes that involve the use of firearms.