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The public defender for a man named in a 24-count federal robbery indictment said in a motion last week it is hopeful proceedings in the case will fall short of a trial.

The indictment against Jacob Austin Evans includes the robbery of The Store Next Door which occurred last year.

In the motion for an extension of the deadline to file pretrial motions as well as the trial, the federal public defender for Evans, G. Alan DuBois, says, “Mr. Evans is in active negotiations with the government. It is our hope we can resolve this case short of trial. Until a resolution is complete, we are asking the court to continue the pretrial motions and arraignment date so Mr. Evans can continue to negotiate without waiving any trial rights.”

The assistant United States attorney does not oppose the motion, DuBois wrote. “The ends of justice served by this motion outweigh the interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial …”

Evans, 23, of Gates and Jequayves Britt, 19, of Sharpsburg, were named in March in a 24-count indictment which charges them in a string of armed robberies across six counties last July.

Thus far the warrants for Britt’s arrest have not been entered as returned, according to court documents.

The indictment includes charges related to the July 16, 2019, armed robbery of The Store Next Door on Fifth Street.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina said in March the men could face up to life in prison if convicted.

The Roanoke Rapids robbery occurred around 9:30 the evening of July 16, police said at the time. 

A person entered the store wearing a mask and showed a weapon. An undisclosed amount of money was taken. There were no injuries.

The robber fled the store on foot and a canine track indicated the person traveled north toward the apartment complex behind the business.