Pistol-whipping convenience store bandit convicted, receives 30-year sentence

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HAMPTON, SC (Feb. 5, 2020) — A Walterboro man who pistol whipped a store clerk and fired multiple shots while stealing money from a convenience store’s till is headed to prison. 

Joey Dean Coleman, 29, was convicted Wednesday of armed robbery, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of first-degree assault and battery and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison, following the verdict from a Hampton County General Sessions jury.

“Mr. Coleman put the two victims in grave fear for their lives,” said Reed Evans of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s office, who prosecuted the case. “They were extremely fortunate to escape this incident without being shot. I am pleased that the jury could tell that Mr. Coleman was clearly the robber in the video, and that the judge sentenced him with the gravity that his actions deserved.” 

Security video from Snappy Foods at 145 Yemassee Highway on Nov. 18, 2018, shows Coleman walking up and placing a beer bottle on the counter before pulling out a handgun, pointing it at two clerks, and demanding money. Walking around the counter, Coleman forces the two men to the floor and strikes them in the backs of their heads. He grabs a few fistfuls of cash and leaves. In addition to the surveillance video, DNA collected from the beer bottle left behind linked Coleman to the crime scene.

Coleman has previous convictions for third-degree burglary in 2010, second-degree burglary in 2011 and possession with intent to distribute cocaine in 2018.

Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullen handed down Wednesday’s sentence.

Evans prosecutes cases in Hampton and Allendale counties. He has been with the Solicitor’s Office since 2011.