A man who pretended to be an ATF agent and issued death threats to jewelry store owners during a home invasion has been sentenced to decades behind bars.
Robert Goodwin, Jr. was involved in “a horrific, violent crime,” according to 11th Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard, who said the owners of Tidwell Jewelers — Lynda and Danny Tidwell — had more than possessions stolen during the crime, they were also robbed of “their sense of peace.”
“Their lives will never be the same,” Hubbard said in a news release after the 29-year-old Goodwin pleaded guilty to multiple charges Aug. 8, and was sentenced to 45 years in a South Carolina prison.
Goodwin was one of four men involved in the planning and execution of the home invasion, according to Hubbard’s office. The Maryland resident was recruited to participate in the home invasion by his nephew, Abin Lee Lowman.
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Hubbard’s office said James Wilson and Joshua Darien were also involved in the planned burglary and robbery of the Tidwell’s home and jewelry store — Tidwell Jewelers in Johnston.
The men executed a plan that involved a week of surveillance, where they learned the Tidwells “daily routine and habits,” according to the 11th Circuit Solicitor. Goodwin and the others also bought a gun, ammunition, dark clothing, gloves, walkie-talkies, and zip-ties to execute the home invasion, which occurred March 8, 2017.
Hubbard said Goodwin, who was also armed with a .380 caliber pistol he had stolen from one of the Tidwells’ vehicles, entered the home through a window just after midnight with Wilson and Darien, and “shouted ‘ATF’ as they ordered the Tidwells from their bedroom.
During the 2-hour home invasion, Lowman waited outside of the home for keys to the jewelry store, as well as alarm and safe codes, according to Hubbard’s office. He told Goodwin and the others to kill the Tidwells if things went wrong.
The Tidwells had their hands restrained behind their backs with zip-ties by Goodwin and the other men in the home, before they were separated, Hubbard’s office reported. While being grilled for the codes and keys to his jewelry store, Danny Tidwell had a gun pressed against his head.
According to the solicitor’s office, Goodwin issued another threat to Danny Tidwell, when he showed him Lynda Tidwell’s driver’s license and said, “I see your wife is an organ donor. You don’t want her to be donating any organs, do you?”
Lowman ultimately left the home and headed to the jewelry store with the intention of robbing it, Hubbard’s office said. But he never made it, because he was stopped by the Johnston police for a traffic violation and arrested.
After continued threats, Goodwin and the other men stole jewelry, cash, other items from the home in addition to the Tidwells’ vehicle, which they drove to Aiken County where they abandoned it and made their way back to Maryland, according to Hubbard.
The Tidwells eventually freed themselves and called law enforcement, who identified the four suspects and Lowman’s vehicle “using video surveillance from the Tidwells’ neighborhood and information from a suspicious vehicle report involving all four men that occurred a week prior to the home invasion,” Hubbard’s office reported.
The solicitor’s office said Goodwin, Darien and Wilson were all eventually arrested in Maryland and extradited to South Carolina, where each has pleaded guilty in federal court, although state charges are still pending against Darien and Wilson.
In June, Lowman was convicted and sentenced to a life sentence, without the possibility of parole, according to Hubbard.
On Aug. 8, Goodwin, who has a previous manslaughter conviction out of Maryland, pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, armed robbery, two counts of kidnapping and criminal conspiracy.
“We hope as each of these offender’s cases are resolved, they gain more closure,” Hubbard said of the Tidwells.