Man drove 7 hours, picked wrong NKY house in ‘mind-boggling’ robbery scheme

Khalil Coleman was sentenced Wednesday in a botched robbery that continues to baffle prosecutors.
Khalil Coleman
Khalil Coleman(Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office)
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 7:20 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COVINGTON, Ky. (WXIX) - A Wisconsin man will spend up to 10 years in a Northern Kentucky prison after being found guilty in a botched robbery, according to Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders.

Khalil Coleman, 36, of Milwaukee, traveled to Northern Kentucky last year allegedly because he needed money to buy birthday gifts for his mother and daughter and to pay his phone bill. He sent a juvenile accomplice to rob the home of a supposed drug dealer—but they got the wrong house, Sanders says.

Coleman then returned to the scene of the crime, told his arresting officers he believed he was in Louisville, claimed not to know a man with whom he shared “thousands” of texts and later testified about a questionable plan to sell a watch in Atlanta, according to prosecutors.

Sanders called the scheme of driving seven hours from Milwaukee to the Tri-State to rob a single house “mind-boggling.”

It happened late-morning on Feb. 15, 2021. Coleman arrived in Covington in a rental car with 25-year-old Joshua Clarey, also of Milwuakee, and 17-year-old Johnny Hubbard, of Gary, Indiana.

The trio allegedly believed that the target house on Bridgegate Court was the home of a drug dealer who kept “hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cash, drugs and jewelry on hand,” according to Sanders.

They also allegedly believed the drug dealer drove a supercharged Dodge muscle car. Seeing a Dodge Charger in a driveway, they wrongly assumed that to be the drug dealer’s house, Sanders says.

In the rental car, Coleman allegedly handed Hubbard a Glock handgun and told him, “Go get that money.”

The homeowner was home with her son and fiancé at the time. While the son was taking out the trash, Hubbard, wearing a ski mask, allegedly came up, pointed a gun at him and said, “We got business to discuss! Get in the house!” The son rather fled into the house while his mother called the police.

The boy and his mother’s fiancé held the door closed while Hubbard tried to force his way in. Eventually, Hubbard gave up and went back to the rental car, according to Sanders.

Elsmere police responded and took a description of Hubbard and the rental car, a sedan with out-of-state plates. “Almost immediately, [Officer Steve] Panko spotted a matching car driving back towards the house that had just been robbed,” Sanders says. Two men in the front seat were arguing with a younger man in the back seat who matched Hubbard’s description.

Coleman allegedly told police he was in town to visit family in Louisville. Officers informed him he was not in Louisville—that he was more than an hour away.

Coleman also allegedly told police he didn’t know the other two men and that he had only met them at a gas station up the street.

Officers arrested the men after Sanders says they found an address on Bridgegate Court open in Google Maps on Coleman’s phone. The address was two houses down from the house they allegedly tried to rob.

“Thousands” of text messages between the two adult suspects showed Clarey gave Coleman the cash to rent the car. Coleman allegedly told Clarey over text, “My back is against the wall,” referencing the money he needed to buy the gifts for his mother and daughter.

Coleman’s bond was reportedly paid through a GoFundMe campaign, something Sanders said he’d never seen before. He had “admitted ties to the notorious violent street gang known as the ‘Gangster Disciples’” in Milwaukee, where he led protests that turned into violent riots, according to Sanders.

Coleman testified that he believed the men were going to Atlanta to sell Clarey’s watch, according to Sanders, and that Clarey and Hubbard decided to rob the house without Coleman’s knowledge.

“On cross-examination, Sanders pointed out that in the thousands of texts between Coleman and Clarey, neither man ever mentioned a watch. Coleman also never mentioned the watch story to police,” the prosecutor’s office writes. “Sanders also walked Coleman through the math of how much money Clarey would have wasted renting a car, buying gas, and paying Coleman to travel to Atlanta and back when he could have sold the watch in Milwaukee or any number of cities closer to Milwaukee than Atlanta.”

The jury found Coleman guilty in April of complicity to first-degree robbery.

Kenton County Judge Patricia Summe on Wednesday followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Coleman to 10 years in prison. It’s a violent offense under Kentucky law, so Coleman must serve 8.5 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

Hubbard testified he agreed to the scheme so he could afford a lawyer for his mother, who is jailed in Indiana on murder charges. He claimed he’d never met Coleman before Coleman showed up with Clarey driving the rental car. A forensic search of cell phone records showed no communication between the two.

Hubbard, now 18, was tried as an adult and entered into a plea deal where he admitted to the crime and agreed to testify against the others in exchange for a 10-year sentence.

Clarey pled guilty to second degree robbery and unlawful transaction with a minor but refused to testify. Sanders is recommending a 15 year sentence.

Clarey also refused to testify in Coleman’s defense.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.

Copyright 2022 WXIX. All rights reserved.