Violent robbery spree leads to nearly two decades in prison for Savannah felon

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SAVANNAH, GA:  A Savannah man has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison after admitting his role in a series of convenience store armed robberies.

Garnell Dewitt Quarterman, 32, of Savannah, was sentenced to 235 months in prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Interference with Commerce by Robbery, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. also ordered Quarterman to pay restitution of $19,201.49 and to serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

“Garnell Quarterman and his co-defendant terrorized store employees and customers during a three-month period until the diligent work of our law enforcement partners halted their crime spree and brought them to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “Our office will be relentless in targeting violet criminals who threaten the safety of our communities.”

As described in court documents and testimony, Quarterman had multiple prior felony convictions for drugs, theft, and violence. Months after being released from custody in Maryland for armed robbery, Quarterman came to Savannah and robbed or attempted to rob 12 Chatham County convenience stores at gunpoint from Nov. 9, 2019, through Jan. 6, 2020.  During one of the robberies, an accomplice fired a bullet near a store clerk to facilitate Quarterman’s escape. Quarterman chose to rob some of the same stores on multiple occasions, and as a result, some victims had to endure being robbed twice by Quarterman at gunpoint days or weeks apart.

Quarterman’s co-defendant, Malic Stephens, 28, of Savannah, previously pled guilty to his role in the robbery conspiracy and is serving a 150-month federal sentence.

“Carrying weapons into peaceful places of business and terrorizing hard-working citizens is something the FBI and our law enforcement partners will make every effort to prosecute and punish,” said Philip Wislar, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Hopefully the lengthy sentence received by Quarterman will bring some sense of comfort to the victims he terrorized.” 

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Southeast Georgia Violent Crimes Task Force, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Savannah Police Department, Garden City Police Department, and Chatham County Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.