A Harnett County man was among two suspects sentenced in federal court in Raleigh on Monday for committing three violent robberies in 2012 and 2013.
United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced Smith Merinord, 23, of Dunn to 72 years in prison followed by 5 years of probation. A second defendant, Cortese Tramand Davis, 26, of Henderson was sentenced to 44 years in federal prison followed by 5 years of supervised release.
The two men were indicted in September 2015 for their involvement in business robberies and sexual assaults.
In November 2013, Both men entered the Advance Auto Parts Store on Owen Drive in Fayetteville with Merinord armed with a small Uzi and Davis armed with mace. They threatened the employees with the firearm during the robbery and Merinord raped and sexually assaulted a female employee before fleeing with cash. Prior to departing, Davis sprayed the employees with mace.
Later that day, the men robbed another Advanced Auto on Roberts Avenue in Lumberton. Merinord again threatened store employees with the Uzi and they fled with cash and a .22 caliber revolver from one of the victims.
On November 8, 2013, Davis was arrested and admitted to participating in the robberies but denied being involved with the rape. Days later, on November 16, 2013, Merniord and another accomplice entered the Red Lobster on McPherson Church Road in Fayetteville and held the manager at gunpoint and stole cash before fleeing. Off duty officers and other law enforcement apprehended the gunmen nearby and recovered a small Uzi in Merinord’s waistband.