HOUSTON – Two men have been ordered to prison after DNA found in seminal fluid identifies them in connection to the armed robbery of a Houston area massage parlor, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Javian Chapman, 20, and Joseph Berzat, 21, both of Houston, pleaded guilty in March 2018 to two counts of aiding and abetting interference with commerce by robbery and one count of aiding and abetting the discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Today, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen handed Chapman a 63-month sentence for the robbery charges in addition to an additional 120 months for the firearms charge which must be served consecutively to the other sentence imposed. Berzat received 96 months for the robbery charges and 120 months for the firearms charge. The respective 183 and 216-month terms of imprisonment will be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. The defendants were also ordered to pay restitution for an ATM they damaged and the cash they stole as well as medical expenses incurred by one of the victims. At the hearing, the court heard Berzat and Chapman had physically assaulted the employees. The court determined that the robbers had abducted employees by forcing them to move into separate rooms at gunpoint.
From approximately 11:00 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, 2016, until nearly 2:00 a.m. Aug. 6, 2016, Chapman and Berzat entered Hana Spa located at 14015 Bammel North in Houston, demanding money and property at gunpoint. They ultimate left with cash, a Samsung Galaxy S5 cell phone and a 2014 Acura SUV. While inside, the suspects broke open the ATM and removed cash from inside using a drill and other tools they had brought with them. They also discharged a firearm.
During the robbery, the suspects had physically and sexually assaulted employees. Authorities later processed the scene for forensic evidence and uncovered DNA from seminal fluid found at the scene which positively identified Berzat and Chapman. Investigators also recovered a palm print from the ATM, which was determined to match Berzat. In addition, Spa employees identified both men as the suspects that held pistols and demanded money during the robbery.
Chapman and Berzat have been and will remain in custody.
The FBI and Harris County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carrie Wirsing and Jill J. Stotts prosecuted the case which was brought as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a nationwide program to reduce gun and gang crime in America and the Houston Law Enforcement Violent Crime Initiative which seeks to proactively fight violent crime across the Greater Houston area.