SAVANNAH, GA (STL.News) A Savannah man faces a minimum of 87 years in prison if convicted of a series of armed robberies of convenience stores in which a co-defendant has pled guilty.
Garnell Dewitt Quarterman, 30, of Savannah, made his initial appearance in federal court Monday, Dec. 7, after a federal grand jury charged him with Conspiracy to Interfere with Commerce by Robbery; 12 counts of Interference with Commerce by Robbery; 12 counts of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Several of the charges carry a penalty of up to life in prison, and there is no parole in the federal system. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Christopher L. Ray ordered Quarterman be detained in custody.
“The armed robbery of a business is an especially dangerous crime, and often is traumatic or even deadly for the victims,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “We’re grateful to our law enforcement partners for putting an end to this series of violent crimes.”
As described in the 26-count indictment, Quarterman is charged with 12 armed robberies or attempted armed robberies in which a firearm was brandished. The armed robberies spanned from November 9, 2019 through January 6, 2020, and they occurred at the Marathon gas station at 2511 Skidaway Road, the Savannah Mart at 1300 E. DeRenne Avenue, the Sunoco gas station at 7261 Skidaway Road, the Pump-N-Go Food Mart at 2016 Skidaway Road, the Gemco at 4906 Paulsen Avenue, the Discount Market at 1516 Montgomery Street, the Waters Market at 4402 Waters Avenue, the Circle K at 8900 White Bluff Road, and the Chu’s Convenience Mart at 2606 Highway 80 in Garden City.
Criminal indictments contain only charges; a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Quarterman’s co-defendant, Malic Stephens, 26, of Savannah, pled guilty on November 9, 2020, to one count of Conspiracy to Interfere with Commerce by Robbery and awaits sentencing. The charge carries a possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
Savannah Police officers identified and arrested Quarterman at a residence on Jan. 17; Stephens was arrested Jan. 23 at his residence. Both men remain in custody.
“Any time an individual takes a gun into a place of business to rob it, victims are traumatized and there is a potential for tragic consequences,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “If convicted, Quarterman faces significant prison time, thanks to the combined efforts of our local and federal law enforcement partners.”
The case is being 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.