Man tells of armed attack

Mon, 09/18/2006 - 4:38pm
By: John Munford

A Fayette man testified Monday that he was afraid he was going to die after he was struck twice in the back of the head by a man who he had employed part-time at his grass-cutting business Dec. 2 2005.

Arthur Cardell, 68, said Arnold Bernard Wesley Jr. dragged him downstairs to his basement and bound his arms with duct tape while demanding the account numbers and access codes to his checking account. Cardell said Wesley pointed his own pistol at him and threatened to kill him.

“He said, ‘You hurry up and give them to me or I’m gonna have to kill you,’” Cardell said.

Wesley, 23, of 3901 Campbellton Road, Atlanta, is accused of attacking Cardell after the two had come inside Cardell’s central Fayette home to eat, following a job they had in north Fayette mowing a yard. Wesley is charged with armed robbery, kidnapping and theft by taking (motor vehicle) but two other charges of aggravated assault were thrown out on a technicality.

The defense may put Cardell on the stand Tuesday morning; the prosecution has already rested its case in the trial.

Cardell said after Wesley threatened to kill him, he eventually left the residence, leaving Cardell in the basement bound by duct tape and a lengthy electrical extension cord. Ultimately Cardell was found by a sheriff’s deputy who was initially told by Cardell’s wife that he was missing.

A U.S. Marshal who helped locate Wesley said he heard the suspect apologize to Cardell on the phone for hurting him. The marshal said the phone call was initiated by him because Wesley had threatened suicide when he was located by the marshal’s unit and Wesley was worried because he thought Cardell had died.

Ultimately Cardell talked Wesley into surrendering peacefully, the marshal said.

Lead defense attorney Joe Saia scored a minor victory for Wesley by successfully arguing that the state hadn’t proven the elements of two aggravated assault charges. Saia said the indictment specifically states that Cardell was struck with a gun and with a crowbar, but there was no evidence of that given during the state’s portion of the case.

Fayette County Superior Court Judge Johnnie L. Caldwell Jr. agreed and granted a directed verdict on both aggravated assault counts against Wesley, taking both charges out from consideration by the jury.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Al Dixon unsuccessfully argued that the jury could infer from the massive wound on Cardell that he was initially struck with the gun.

There was testimony that the gun had been pointed at Cardell and that Wesley also intimated a threat to using the crowbar, but Caldwell noted the indictment specifically claims Wesley used the gun and crowbar to strike Cardell during the attack.

Had the indictment been written to say that Wesley “assaulted” Cardell with the gun or crowbar, the decision would have been different, Caldwell noted.

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