Two Tennessee men responsible for a violent crime spree in the mid-state during December 2017 and January 2018, have been sentenced to lengthy federal prison terms, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Dewayne Halfacre, 45, was sentenced Thursday to 232 months in prison for his role in four mid-state robberies. Timothy Howell, 54, was previously sentenced in June to 157 months in prison. Both pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and to four counts of robbery affecting commerce, after being indicted by a federal grand jury in 2019.
During a one-month period beginning on Dec. 16, 2017, the pair robbed four convenience stores including the Mapco on Highway 70; the Delta Express on Old Hickory Boulevard on Dec. 21; the Shell gas station on White Bridge Road on Jan. 13, 2018, all in Nashville; and the Almaville Market in Arrington, Tennessee, on Jan. 19, 2018. During each of these robberies, the defendants took cash from the register and other items and threatened the store employees with a box cutter during two robberies and a handgun during the others.
Court documents also indicate that in addition to the robberies above, Halfacre and Howell engaged in other criminal acts during this time period, including robbing an 81-year-old woman in Clarksville on Dec. 16, 2017; attempted to break into the Family Market in Rockvale on Jan. 16, 2018; burglarized Oldham's Market in Hartsville on Jan. 18, 2018; robbed a Mapco store in Ringgold, Georgia, on Jan. 22, 2018; and less than an hour later they attempted to burglarize Andy's Market in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.
Later on Jan. 22, 2018, deputies with the Marion County Sheriff's Office located Halfacre and Howell in a vehicle parked at a funeral home. The pair then led law enforcement on a high-speed chase before crashing the vehicle and fleeing into the woods. Howell was captured a short time later but Halfacre eluded authorities until the following day when he attempted to break into a house. When a Marion County Sheriff's deputy responded to the break-in, he encountered Halfacre, who drew a handgun, pointed it at the deputy and threatened to kill him. Halfacre then took the deputy's patrol car and fled as another deputy shot one of the vehicle's tires. Another pursuit ensued and the patrol car was found crashed and abandoned a short time later.
Several days later, on Jan. 26, 2018, after a large scale manhunt, Halfacre was tracked to an uninhabited house in Marion County and surrounded by law enforcement. Halfacre then contacted the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), agreed to surrender, and was taken into custody.
On Oct. 10, 2018, while being held at the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center, Halfacre and another inmate assaulted a correctional officer and escaped custody. They stole a nearby vehicle and hid in abandoned houses for approximately 36 hours before being captured.
U.S. Attorney Cochran commended the work of the many law enforcement agencies involved in this case, including the FBI; the TBI; the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office; the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; and the Marion County Sheriff's Office; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brooke K. Schiferle, who prosecuted the case.