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Friday, July 17, 2015

Three Tennessee Men Plead Guilty to Killing During Home-Invasion Robbery


Three Clarksville, Tennessee, men pleaded guilty to using a firearm to kill during a home-invasion robbery.  Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David Rivera of the Middle District of Tennessee made the announcement.

Cornell Oliver, 23, and Blake Wright, 25, pleaded guilty today before Chief U.S. District Judge Kevin H. Sharp to use of a firearm in a crime of violence resulting in death.  Jerry Dinkins, 26, pleaded guilty on June 26, 2015, to the same offense.  Wright and Oliver will be sentenced on Nov. 10, 2015, and Dinkins will be sentenced on Oct. 23, 2015.

According to the plea agreements, on Oct. 27, 2010, Oliver, Dinkins and Wright participated in a home-invasion robbery at a crack house in Clarksville, and that the defendants targeted the house and the victim Raymond Caston, aka Black, because he was known to cook and sell substantial amounts of crack cocaine at the house and to have large amounts of cash.

The plea agreements provide that, when the defendants arrived at the house, one of the defendants kicked open the door.  At the time, at least eight people were inside the house.  The defendants then entered and demanded money and drugs from Caston.  One of the defendants proceeded to hit Caston with a gun.  After Caston indicated that he did not have money or drugs, the defendants forced Caston outside.  People inside the house then heard multiple gunshots, but did not see which of the defendants actually fired shots.  The defendants then fled, and Caston, who had been shot three times, was pronounced dead at the scene.

DNA and other physical and forensic evidence collected at the scene and eyewitness accounts also connected the defendants to the murder.

The case was investigated by Clarksville Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Laura Gwinn of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynne T. Ingram of the Middle District of Tennessee.

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