Lloyd R. Woodson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Lloyd Woodson)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Lloyd R. Woodson
Born (1966-01-31) 31 January 1966 (age 53)
New York, U.S.
Criminal statusIncarcerated at New Jersey State Prison
Spouse(s)Tracey Everett
Conviction(s)Prior conviction in 1997: Criminal possession of a weapon.
Criminal chargeVarious firearms charges in 2010 at state and federal level
PenaltyConvicted and sentenced to 14-and-a-half years in prison

Lloyd R. Woodson (born January 31, 1966) is an American man whose arrest in central New Jersey on January 25, 2010 received national attention in the United States.[1][2] Woodson was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and was wearing a ballistic vest at the time of his arrest. A subsequent search of his motel room uncovered a large cache of weapons, ammunition, and gear including a grenade launcher, a night vision scope, a police scanner, a Middle Eastern keffiyeh, and a number of maps. One was of Fort Drum, a U.S. military facility located five hours away near the border with Canada in upstate New York.[3][4]

Woodson said he intended to use the weapons for a violent crime but appeared to have been acting alone. The government did not find any evidence of association with terrorist groups or a terrorist plot.[5][6]

On January 26, 2010, Woodson was charged in state court with various criminal charges. Bail was set at $75,000. On January 29, he was charged in federal court, and consented to be held without bail. On February 25, a county grand jury indicted Woodson for attempted armed robbery (second degree), possession of a firearm for unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a rifle, possession of a defaced firearm, possession of hollow-point bullets, and possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines.[7][8] A defense psychiatrist said that Woodson was competent to stand trial, but was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and incapable of carrying out the crimes with which he was charged. He was convicted and sentenced on September 28, 2012 to 14-and-a-half years in New Jersey State Prison.

Personal life[edit]

Woodson, 43 years old at the time of his arrest, is an African American from Reston, Virginia, where he had lived less than a year after abandoning his wife and family. He had previously lived in District Heights, Maryland, and Queens and Brooklyn, New York.[9][10]

Woodson joined the U.S. Navy in February 1988, serving aboard the USS Orion, a submarine tender. He deserted in April 1989.[11]

On or about April 10, 1997 he was convicted by the Superior Court in Brooklyn of criminal possession of a weapon in Kings County, New York[12][13][14] – a felony punishable with a prison term greater than one year.[12][15] At this time, eight years after he deserted the Navy, he was returned to the Navy's custody. He was given a dishonorable discharge in August 1997.[4][11][16]

In 2008, Woodson's wife, Tracey Everett, sought a protective order against him in Forestville, Maryland. In court papers, she said he had deserted her and her children months earlier. She had not spoken to him in more than a year, and had tried unsuccessfully to find him to serve divorce papers. She said that although he collected guns, she did not believe Woodson was violent: "He's just a loner. He just needs psychological counseling."[10]


Woodson had been inside the QuickChek convenience store on Easton Turnpike in Branchburg, New Jersey for approximately 40 minutes when a female convenience store clerk phoned the police to report a person behaving suspiciously. Officers responding to the call at 3:55 am reportedly encountered an "extremely nervous" Woodson, who was wearing a green military-style jacket with a "large bulge" in the front.[17] Upon being questioned by the investigating officer, Woodson ran out of the back of the store, toward the nearby Regency Trailer Park.[18] Officers found him hiding in the bushes, drew their guns and ordered him to surrender; he was tackled and subdued with pepper spray.[4][19]

Woodson was wearing a military-style ballistic vest with a reinforced front steel plate. Concealed under his green, military-style jacket was a loaded semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle, which had a defaced serial number and had the upper receiver changed to the .50 Beowulf instead of the stock .223‑caliber (5.56 mm) upper. Also concealed under Woodson's jacket were four additional high-capacity magazines all loaded with ammunition, some of which were hollow points.[12][18][19] Branchburg Police Chief, Brian Fitzgerald, who was concerned that Woodson's .50‑caliber bullets could penetrate officers' protective vests, "police car door and maybe through the other side of their police car", awarded the Exceptional Duty Award to three Branchburg police officers who responded to the Woodson report.[20][21]

Detectives subsequently searched Woodson's room at the Red Mill Inn motel in Branchburg, where he had been staying for a week. They found a cache of weapons and equipment including another Bushmaster .308‑caliber semiautomatic rifle with a defaced serial number and a flash suppressor, a 37 mm Cobray flare launcher,[14][22] a second bulletproof vest, a Russian-made rifle-mountable Nightsight Illuminator NP75 night vision scope, a police scanner, and hundreds of rounds of .50‑caliber and .308‑caliber ammunition, both ball-type and hollow-point bullets, as well as military wear, and garrison equipment.[12][18][22][23]

According to a New Jersey court filing, Woodson had waived his Miranda rights. He said he bought the firearms on the streets of New York, obliterated the serial numbers on them, and brought them to New Jersey from Virginia.[12][14] Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest said that for private citizens to have this type of armament is "quite unusual in Somerset County."[4]

Also in his room were a detailed map of the Fort Drum U.S. military facility in upstate New York near the Canada–US border, a five-hours' drive from Branchburg, and a map of a town in a state other than New Jersey.[12][24][25] NBC reported that the map of Fort Drum was a concern to authorities, but the FBI found no link between him and recognized terrorism groups.[9][26] Detectives also found a traditional red-and-white Middle Eastern keffiyeh.[9][19]

Investigation and reactions[edit]

CNN journalists Wolf Blitzer and Rick Sanchez explored whether there was a terrorist link on January 26, 2010.[27][28] An editorial in The Washington Times drew parallels with Nidal Malik Hasan. It said "When a man is apprehended with a cache of weapons, body armor, a map of a military installation and jihadist personal effects, the natural response of most Americans is to assume the situation is terrorist-related" and suggested the Obama administration's definition of terrorism was too narrow.[29]

The Associated Press reported that the weapons and the map raised questions about whether Woodson was planning an attack on Fort Drum. The Somerset County prosecutor Wayne Forrest did not comment on whether he thought Woodson had been planning to attack the New York facility.[30] Fort Drum's garrison commander, Col. Kenneth Riddle, issued a statement on January 27, 2010, saying the garrison had been notified immediately when the map was discovered in Woodson's possession; he believed the post was secure due to security measures already in place.[31]

State proceedings, conviction, and sentencing[edit]

The FBI initially said the matter was being worked as a state case out of the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office, and that it was possible Woodson could face federal gun charges.[22] Woodson was charged in state court on January 26, 2010, with second-degree unlawful possession of weapons, fourth-degree possession of prohibited defaced firearms and prohibited weapons- armor penetrating bullets, fourth degree possession of large capacity ammunition magazine, obstruction of justice, and resisting arrest.[9][32] Bail was set by a New Jersey Superior Court Judge John Pursel in Somerville at $75,000.[33][34][35]

On February 25, 2010, Woodson was indicted by a Somerset County grand jury on numerous charges, including second-degree attempted robbery and multiple weapons offenses, including second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose and fourth-degree possession of hollow-point bullets.[8][18] Chanel Hudson, Woodson's public defender on the state charges,[8][18] noted that she has not yet received all of the discovery. Hudson said that attempted robbery was not an initial charge, and would like to see the evidence they have to support it.[18]

On April 10, 2010, Woodson pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.[36][37] On August 20, 2010, his defense lawyer asserted in New Jersey Superior Court that a defense psychiatrist’s report indicated Woodson is competent to stand trial, but suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, “which rendered him incapable of committing the crimes he’s charged with.”[38]

The trial in Somerset County commenced before the Honorable Robert B. Reed, J.S.C., with jury selection on May 9, 2012. On June 4, 2012 the jury began deliberations and after about 2 1/2 hours returned the guilty verdicts. Woodson faced a maximum sentence of 28 years in New Jersey State Prison, with a 16 1/2 year parole disqualifier.

Following the verdict, Judge Reed ordered that Woodson, who had remained in the Somerset County Jail pending trial in lieu of $75,000 bail, be held without bail pending sentence.[39] Woodson was sentenced by Judge Reed to 14-and-a-half years in New Jersey State Prison on September 28, 2012, and must serve 10 years and 8 months before he becomes eligible for parole.[40]

Federal proceedings[edit]

The day after the arrest, the FBI indicated its preliminary finding that Woodson did not appear to have a link to any known terrorist groups, nor a specific terrorist plot. It stressed that the matter was still under investigation.[22][14] After initial investigation and meeting with local authorities, the FBI and the local Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that, despite the amount of firepower uncovered, the incident was not terror-related. Former FBI agent Brad Garrett commented that unless they could link Woodson to a specific group, the FBI was unlikely to say it was terror-related, adding "For whatever reason, they feel like this doesn't rise to be prosecuted in federal court."[41]

Subsequently, federal authorities charged Woodson in a criminal complaint with violating the federal law prohibiting a felon previously convicted of a weapons offense from possessing firearms.[12][42][43] He appeared briefly in federal court on January 29, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark.[15] He was assigned a public defender and waived his right to a detention hearing, and his lawyer said he would consent to being held in custody without bail.[44]

The prosecutor told the judge that Woodson admitted in an interview that he intended to use the weapons in furtherance of a violent crime, though the prosecutor did not explain further, and the U.S. attorney's office spokesman said he would not elaborate.[45] The federal charge carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison, with a $250,000 fine.[46]

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Greg Reinert indicated that, given the detainer on him for the federal charge, Woodson would not be released even should he succeed at making bail at the county level.[5]


  1. ^ Mulvihill, Geoff, "Va. man arrested with arsenal, map of NY Army base"[permanent dead link], Charlotte Observer, January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
  2. ^ "Man with weapons, map of military base arrested", CNN, January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  3. ^ "US police arrest heavily armed man with military map", Daily Times (Pakistan), AFP, January 27, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d "Virginia man had weapons cache, grenade launcher stashed in N.J. hotel room". Star-Ledger. January 25, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  5. ^ a b MacDonald, Greg (February 2, 2010). "Reston man faces federal weapons charges; Officials say man found in possession of grenade launcher, military base map". Fairfax Times. Retrieved February 2, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "FBI finds no terrorism link to Virginia man with weapons cache in N.J. motel room", Associated Press, NJ.COM, February 26, 2010. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
  7. ^ "Grand jury indicts man on weapons charges from Branchburg incident", The Messenger-Gazette, February 25, 2010. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
  8. ^ a b c "Ex-Va. man indicted in NJ weapons case", ABC, March 1, 2010. Retrieved March 20, 2010.
  9. ^ a b c d Markon, Jerry (January 27, 2010). "FBI says no terrorism link for Reston man found with weapons". Washington Post. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Mulvihill, Geoff (January 26, 2010). "Va. man arrested with arsenal, mysterious maps". NBC. Retrieved January 26, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ a b "Grenade launcher, map of military facility found in ex-Navy man's N.J. motel room" USA Today, January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Wojcik, Kimberly. "Criminal Complaint; U.S. v. Woodson" (PDF). U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 14, 2010. Retrieved March 19, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ Mulvihill, Geoff, "Lloyd Woodson Arrested: Man Had Grenade Launcher, Weapons, Maps", Huffington Post, January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  14. ^ a b c d "Virginia man facing N.J., federal weapons charges had map of Fort Drum in N.Y." Star-Ledger. January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  15. ^ a b Oeterka, Amanda, (January 28, 2010). "Virginia weapons man arrested in Branchburg expected in federal court in Newark". Messenger-Gazette. Nj.com. Retrieved March 16, 2010.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ "FBI: Weapons suspect had map of Army base", UPI, January 27, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
  17. ^ Deak, Michael, "Virginia man indicted in Somerset Co. weapons case"[permanent dead link], Daily Record, February 26, 2010. Retrieved March 20, 2010.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Golson, Jennifer (February 25, 2010). "Virginia man is indicted for allegedly having weapons arsenal stashed in N.J. motel room". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  19. ^ a b c Martinez, Edecio (January 26, 2010), "Lloyd R. Woodson Busted with Weapons Cache, Map of Military Base, Headdress, Say NJ Cops" CBS News. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  20. ^ Garlic, Tiffani N. (March 9, 2010). "Three police officers are honored for quick response to Virginia man with arsenal in Branchburg motel room". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  21. ^ "3 cops honored for stopping armed man"[permanent dead link], News 12 Networks Long Island, March 12, 2010. Retrieved March 20, 2010.
  22. ^ a b c d "Man Arrested After Weapons, Map of U.S. Military Facility Seized From N.J. Motel Room,", Fox News, January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  23. ^ Robbins, Liz (January 26, 2010), "Police Find Weapons After N.J. Arrest", The New York Times. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  24. ^ "Va. man arrested with weapons arsenal, map of NY's Fort Drum Army base; intentions unclear", Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  25. ^ "Officials find arsenal of weapons in New Jersey hotel room", CNN, January 27, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
  26. ^ LaFleur, Tonya, "NoVa Man Had Weapons Cache: Police Man found with map of U.S. military installation", NBC, January 26, 2010. Retrieved March 20, 2010.
  27. ^ Feyerick, Deborah "Chaos in Haiti; Al Qaeda Seeking WMD?", The Situation Room, CNN, January 26, 2010. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  28. ^ Sanchez, Rick; Baldwin, Brooke (January 26, 2010). "Rick's List". CNN. Retrieved March 20, 2010.
  29. ^ "Editorial: Obama won't connect terror dots", The Washington Times, February 1, 2010. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  30. ^ Cruz, Alicia (January 26, 2010). "Lloyd Woodson arrested by police in Somerset with grenade launcher, weapons, maps of a military site". Newjerseynewsroom.com. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  31. ^ "Feds: weapons suspect had map of Fort Drum". ABC. January 27, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
  32. ^ "Peterka, Amanda, "Weapons suspect arraigned; man with alleged arsenal in Branchburg motel room surprises public". Messenger-Gazette. Nj.com. January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  33. ^ "$75K bail set for US man facing weapon charges", Taiwan News, January 27, 2010, Retrieved January 30, 2010
  34. ^ Golson, Jennifer (January 26, 2010). "Judge sets $75K bail for Virginia man accused of having weapons cache at N.J. motel". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  35. ^ "Weapons cache, maps found after man’s arrest; Police find maps of a military facility in the man’s New Jersey motel room" MSNBC, January 26, 2010. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  36. ^ "Ex-Va. man pleads not guilty in NJ weapons case – WRIC Richmond News and Weather". Wric.com. April 10, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  37. ^ PETER THORNE (April 10, 2010). "Virginia Man Pleads Not Guilty To Hiding Weapons In NJ Motel Room". WPIX. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  38. ^ Amanda Brown. "Va. man accused of attempted robbery, stashing arsenal in N.J. motel will undergo psychiatric evaluation". The Star-Ledger. NJ.com. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  39. ^ "Somerset County Jury convicts Virginia man who made national headlines back in 2010". The Messenger-Gazette. June 5, 2012.
  40. ^ article mycentraljersey
  41. ^ Lee Ferran & Jen Maxfield (January 26, 2010). "N.J. Grenade Launcher Suspect Was a Navy Deserter". Fox News. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  42. ^ "Va. Man Arrested With Arsenal, Map of NY Army Base", The New York Times, January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  43. ^ Cuomo, Chris, and Ferran, Lee (January 27, 2010), "How Easy Is It to Get a Grenade Launcher?l N.J. Weapons Find Inspires Examination of Military-Grade Weapons Purchase" ABC News. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
  44. ^ "Man charged in NJ weapons case remains in custody", Forbes, January 29, 2010. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
  45. ^ Mulvihill, Geoff, "Man charged in NJ weapons case remains in custody", The Washington Post, January 29, 2010, Retrieved January 29, 2010[dead link]
  46. ^ Golson, Jennifer, "Virginia man accused of having weapons cache in N.J. motel makes first court appearance", The Star-Ledger, January 29, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2010.