A U.S. District judge has sentenced a father from Conyers and his son, who is from the Stone Mountain area, this week to federal prison on several charges including armed commercial robbery, attempted bank robbery, and using and carrying firearms during crimes of violence, U.S. Attorney's office for the Northen District of Georgia said in a press release.
The two were charged in the November 2010 robbery of Weeyums Philly Style Cheese Steaks in Stone Mountain Village, in which William "Joe" Dawson, son of the restaurant's owner, was shot in the arm. His father told Patch his son, now 25, is doing fine.
The father and son crime pair also attempted to rob a Wells Fargo Bank on Clairmont Road.
Judge William S. Duffey, Jr. sentenced the son, Clifford DeAngelo Jackson, 23 to 16 years and two months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
"We're glad it's all over with and we're moving on and we just want to put that behind us," Weeyums owner William Dawson, who attended the Jackson's sentencing, told Patch.
Dawson said he doesn't think all hope is lost for Jackson if he uses his time to turn around his life. "I think he could become a productive person in society. It was just a cycle and it's sort of sad to see."
Clifford Durham, Jr., 39, Jackson's father, was sentenced this week to 50 years and eight months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney.
The father and son planned and executed two robberies with the help of three other co-defendants, who were sentenced earlier this week: Rashad Rogers, 21, of College Park, to 13 years and ten months; Mark Zanders, 22, of the Stone Mountain area, to nine years and eight months; Theodore Spencer, 25, of Baltimore -- who worked at Weeyums -- to six years, ten months.
According to the press release from the U.S. Attorney's office:
Durham and Jackson were charged in two separate indictments with robbing a small, family-owned restaurant in downtown Stone Mountain in November 2010, and attempting to rob a Wells Fargo Bank on Clairmont Road in DeKalb County in April 2011. Durham and Jackson planned and executed each robbery, and conspired with a different group of individuals on each occasion.
For the November 2010 robbery, Jackson enlisted the help of co-conspirator Spencer, who worked at the business that was the robbery target. Jackson and Spencer planned the robbery, and Jackson recruited his father, Durham, to execute the robbery as planned. During the robbery, Durham shot the restaurant owner's son, who narrowly avoided more serious injuries by running underneath a food preparation table and out of the restaurant's front door.
Jackson and Durham’s involvement was fully discovered after they attempted to commit a second robbery in April 2011. Durham planned to rob a Wells Fargo bank, and recruited his son Jackson to participate in the crime. Durham also brought co-defendants Rogers and Zanders into the scheme. During that robbery attempt, Jackson, Rogers, and Zanders entered the bank branch brandishing guns and ordered all of the customers to the ground. The bank employees refused to allow the robbers access to the glass-enclosed teller line, so they left the bank without any money and fled with Durham, who was the getaway driver.
“While violent crime rates have declined, armed robberies continue to be a threat to public safety, particularly when the crimes target thriving businesses," U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in the release. "Family-owned businesses are particularly vulnerable to the whims of an offender who is determined to take hard-earned profits for his own financial gain. We will continue to work with our state and local law enforcement partners to identify and locate violent offenders who impede interstate commerce and endanger our communities.”
Meet the Owner: William Dawson of Weeyums Philly Style Cheese Steaks