Savannah woman sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for violent armed robbery

SAVANNAH, GA:  A Chatham County woman has been sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to the violent armed robbery of a vendor stocking an automatic teller machine.

Shannan Barnwell, 25, of Savannah, was sentenced to 170 months in prison after pleading guilty to Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon; Interference with Interstate Commerce by Robbery; and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood also ordered Barnwell to serve five years of supervised release upon completion of her prison term.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“It is extraordinarily fortunate that no one was hurt during this robbery,” said U.S. Attorney Steinberg. “The sentence imposed by the court is a direct consequence of Barnwell’s decision to put innocent individuals’ lives in danger for her own financial gain.”

As described in court documents and testimony, a vendor was restocking a South State Bank automatic teller machine on Burroughs Street in Savannah on Sept. 27, 2022, when Barnwell brandished a handgun and declared a robbery. As Barnwell took containers of cash from the vendor, the attendant drew his firearm and Barnwell ran away, firing two shots with one striking the ATM. No individuals were struck by gunfire, and the vendor did not fire his weapon.

Savannah police officers located and arrested Barnwell at a nearby park, and recovered the cash receptacles and two pistols that Barnwell had dropped as she fled. At the time of the robbery, Barnwell was on parole from a previous conviction for armed robbery and carjacking, and her sentence will be served consecutive to the incarceration for the state parole violation.

“Barnwell terrorized and threatened her innocent victim,” said FBI Savannah Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Will Clarke. “This lengthy prison sentence hopefully provides some peace to the victim by ensuring Barnwell cannot terrorize anyone for decades to come.”

The Savannah Police Department and the FBI investigated the case, which was prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney and Deputy Criminal Division Chief E. Gregory Gilluly Jr. and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Makeia R. Jonese.

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