RIDGELAND, SC (Monday, Aug. 9, 2021) – A Savannah man caught after a nine-day armed robbery spree in Hardeeville has been sent to prison.
Richard Ulysee Lee, who turns 60 later this month, pleaded guilty as indicted Monday in Jasper County General Sessions Court to two charges of armed robbery, one charge of attempted armed robbery and three charges of possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime. His jury trial was scheduled to begin later in the day.
Lee was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
“Mr. Lee has a lengthy criminal record and a history of threatening force to take what doesn’t belong to him,” said 14th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Sean Thornton, who prosecuted the case. “A thorough investigation by the Hardeeville Police Department and the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office made it clear he was responsible for these crimes, as well.”
Just before 6 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2018, Lee entered a Dollar General store in Hardeeville and attempted to rob employees while armed with a black handgun. Surveillance video shows the suspect unsuccessfully attempting to open the cash register.
While at the Dollar General crime scene, Hardeeville Police received a report of another armed robbery at the Motel 6 near Interstate 95 Exit 8. There, Lee was shown in surveillance drinking a ginger ale before demanding money from the register, this time successfully. Lee left behind the soda bottle, however, and in subsequent testing, analysts discovered his DNA on it.
Nine days after the Dollar General and Motel 6 incidents, Lee went to a Family Dollar store in Hardeeville. There, he robbed the store of $427.
Lee’s criminal history dates to 1979 and includes convictions for breaking and entering, fraudulent enlistment in the Army, and two robbery charges in Texas in 2002.
Circuit Court Judge Carmen T. Mullen handed down the sentence.
Thornton leads the Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. The team has earned convictions against 384 of 402 defendants it has prosecuted since its inception in 2009.