Revealing jailhouse recording in truck stop botched robbery

By Tara Morgan - bio | email 

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - New details about a botched robbery caught on tape in Caroline County including a revealing jailhouse phone call.

The case against suspects, Warren Brown and Winston Oliver is now in the hands of federal prosecutors. Both men were in court Tuesday.

Testimony revealed that there are more than 100 jailhouse recordings featuring one of the suspects. An investigator testified specifically about one call revolving around a handgun. Prosecutors said Warren Brown opened fire on a Mr. Fuel store clerk when the cash registers didn't open. A good Samaritan then jumped into action with a beer bottle prompting more gunfire. He was shot four times, but the man, a Maryland resident, survived.

Prosecutors said suspected getaway driver Winston Oliver told his wife, who worked at Mr. Fuel in 2008, that he planned to rob the truck stop, after she told him the surveillance cameras didn't record at the time.  But the system was up and running the day before the robbery.

The feds said Oliver supplied the car and the 22-caliber handgun.

The weapon, according court documents, came up during a recorded jailhouse call Oliver made to his pastor in which the Chesterfield man told the clergyman where the gun was hidden and wanted him to hand it over to law enforcement. However, an investigator told the court that a subsequent search for the gun in Oliver's backyard came up empty.

"That certainly raises an inference that this individual was concerned the firearm may be evidence [that] it could be used against him," said NBC12 Legal Analyst, Steven Benjamin.

Both Oliver and Brown are charged with federal robbery and use of firearm.

"The feds are permitted to prosecute a local crime like robbery if they can show that the crime affected interstate commerce," said Benjamin.

An investigator said the store sells car parts as far away as Illinois.

Oliver's defense pointed out her client was never seen on camera.

Testimony revealed Oliver changed his story several times about his whereabouts that night.  But according to testimony, cell phone records show he was in Caroline County.

No word yet on the next court date for the two men.

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