Raleigh man pleads guilty in Wake County armed robbery spree
Posted January 23, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh man accused of terrorizing Wake County residents in a series of armed robberies and attempted robberies last year pleaded guilty Thursday to more than two dozen charges in connection with the eight crimes.
Walter Kevin Johnson, 29, of 6124 Braidwood Court, faces up to nearly 160 years in prison on the charges, which include nine counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of first-degree kidnapping and two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Sentencing was continued for at least 90 days while Johnson cooperates, as part of his plea agreement, with law enforcement authorities to help them clear other cases.
Matt Faucette, Johnson's attorney, said his client had recently become a new father and had been struggling financially. Johnson agreed to plead guilty because he wants to take full responsibility for the crimes, which happened between Sept. 22 and Oct. 8 in Raleigh, Cary, Holly Springs and Wake Forest.
"When I first met Walter, literally within 10 minutes, he was telling me, 'I want to take complete responsibility for what I've done.'" Faucette said, adding that his client has even written letters of apologies to his victims.
Some of Johnson's victims were present for Thursday's hearing, saying they felt that being there could help them move on with their lives.
In several of the cases, Johnson approached his victims and used a handgun to rob them of money and personal belongings. Authorities say he also forced some of them to drive to ATMs to withdraw cash.
Several of the crimes happened near Johnson's home, including one less than 2 miles away on Pleasant Valley Road. In that case, investigators said, Johnson assaulted a man and stole a woman's purse as they walked from their car.
Less than 24 hours later on Sept. 23, a woman parking her car at an apartment complex off Duraleigh Road – about 3 miles from Johnson's home – was forced into her car and made to drive to an ATM to withdraw cash. She was dropped off, and her car was later found abandoned near her home.
In one of the last cases, a Cary woman said she awoke in the middle of the night to an armed man in her bedroom who made her write down her family's banking information and then told her that he would hurt her children if she did not drop off $45,000 for him the following day.
Johnson also pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of second-degree kidnapping, two counts of larceny of a motor vehicle and one count each of first-degree burglary, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, extortion, possession of stolen goods and larceny of a firearm.
Raleigh police arrested Johnson during a traffic stop on Oct. 11, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Matt Lively said, after a woman called 911 with suspicions that her husband might have been involved in the crimes, which were widely reported in the news.
DNA from a skeleton mask used in some of the robberies also matched Johnson, Lively said.