Two Rock Island men face federal prison time in separate crimes

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Two Rock Island men face federal prison time for unrelated, separate incidents – one was sentenced on Nov. 4, and the other pleaded guilty on Nov. 3.

In the first case, Terrance Jermaine “T.J.” Clay, 44, was sentenced on Nov. 4, 2021, to 166 months imprisonment for conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of robbery.

At Clay’s sentencing hearing, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Sara Darrow found that Clay was the leader of a conspiracy to rob drug dealers in the Quad Cities. She noted that Clay and his co-conspirators placed GPS monitoring devices on their victims’ vehicles to monitor their habits and routes to determine when and where the victims were likely to have valuable contraband.

Chief Judge Darrow also found that on Nov. 11, 2017, Clay and his co-conspirators robbed and carjacked two people in Moline at gunpoint. During the robbery, one of the guns discharged and one of the victims was pistol whipped. Clay and his co-conspirator later lit the victim’s car on fire in Moline.

Clay pleaded guilty in July 2021. His co-defendant Kelsey Dwayne Bragg was sentenced to 190 months imprisonment on Feb. 16, 2021, following a plea of guilty.

The statutory penalties for conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery include up to 20 years’ imprisonment. Possession of a firearm in furtherance of robbery carries a mandatory minimum term of ten years and up to life imprisonment.

“This case is a good example of how drug dealers plague our communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Douglas J. Quivey. “The threat and danger is real and sophisticated. The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to work with law enforcement to prosecute and abate the continuing problem.”

The Rock Island Police Department; the Scott County Sheriff’s Office; and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alyssa Raya represented the government in the prosecution.

In the second case, Robert Barnes, 29, of the 900 block of 21st Street in Rock Island, pleaded guilty on Nov. 3 to unlawfully possessing a firearm as a felon. Sentencing for Barnes has been scheduled for March 2, 2022, in federal court in Davenport.

At the change-of-plea hearing before Judge Darrow, Barnes admitted to possessing a firearm despite knowing that it was unlawful to do so because of his prior felony conviction. In presenting a factual basis for the conviction, the government described how, in November of 2019, a Rock Island police officer stopped a car in which Barnes was a passenger. During the stop, the officer discovered an uncased and loaded handgun under Barnes’s seat.

Barnes remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals while awaiting sentencing. At sentencing, Barnes faces statutory penalties of up to ten years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

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