2 convicted for robbery, kidnapping in Fayetteville

Fri, 11/14/2008 - 4:08pm
By: John Munford

Two men were found guilty Friday of all charges stemming from the kidnapping of a Griffin man at a Fayetteville convenience store June 18.

Travion Marquez Willis, 18, of College Park and Christopher Deangelo Wakefield, 23, of Riverdale were convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and theft by taking (motor vehicle).

Wakefield was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years and Willis was sentenced to life in prison by Chief Superior Court Judge Paschal A. English Jr. Both must serve 30 years before they will be eligible for parole, prosecutors said.

Willis testified about his involvement but claimed he only robbed the victim because Wakefield put a gun to his head and forced him to do it. Wakefield did not testify.

District Attorney Scott Ballard said the case was a good example of the Fayetteville police and Fayette County sheriff’s deputies working together. Both agencies combed the area in a manhunt for the suspects after both vehicles were ditched near Pine Cone Trail.

The victim testified Wednesday that he was afraid for his life when he was forced into a car trunk by his two captors, one of whom drove the car away while the other drove his 2004 Chevy Tahoe.

Joshua Askew, 27, said he had just exited the Village Market Shell at 765 N. Glynn Street when a black man approached him and pointed a gun at his head.

"I told him, 'Whatever you want, it's yours,'" Askew said Wednesday in the trial of two men accused of committing the crime.
Askew said his hands immediately went in the air when he saw the gun.

"He said, 'If you turn around I'll kill you,'" Askew recalled.

Askew identified Willis as the gunman.
Askew said he couldn't identify the other man who took his cell phone from his hip before he was instructed to get in the trunk of a nearby car and hand the keys to his Chevy Tahoe to one of the assailants.
Wakefield was tied to the case by the cash that was found on him when he was arrested.

Askew, who services amusement machines such as video poker games, said he recognized his handwriting on two of the bills that police found in Wakefield's possession when he was arrested.

Askew explained to the jury that he would remove cash from machines at a store and when he counted the cash he would write the total on the top bill with an ink pen.

Earlier in the trial Fayetteville police officer Mike Whitlow testified that Willis indicated during an interview that he got the gun from Wakefield, whom Willis alleged also participated in the robbery. Willis positively identified Wakefield in a photograph, Whitlow said.

Askew testified how he escaped by using the emergency trunk release after the car crashed into his Tahoe shortly after the suspects drove away from the convenience store. He exited the trunk and got into a nearby car, urging the female driver to pursue the suspects as they sped away.

Willis was arrested near Corinth Road after the vehicles had been ditched nearby on Pine Trail Road off Ga. Highway 85 near the Fayette Pavilion, deputies said.
Prosecutor Warren Sellars said Willis and Wakefield planned the crime and studied activity at the store to determine when the victim would arrive.

Willis and Wakefield got nearly $3,000 from the victim during the heist, prosecutors said.

Wakefield had a prior conviction for possession of cocaine, according to the district attorney’s office.

Ballard said he was proud of his office for preparing the case for prosecution in just five months and he specifically lauded Sellars for his work on the case.

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Submitted by Davids mom on Sat, 11/15/2008 - 9:11am.

Our law enforcement is to be congratulated. The capture and sentence will send a clear message to those who think the citizens in Fayette County are 'easy prey'!!

Submitted by skyspy on Sat, 11/15/2008 - 8:59am.

A strong punishment for crime. I hope this becomes a trend once again in Fayette County.

Submitted by Lifes Snot Fare on Sat, 11/15/2008 - 1:32am.

...if we ever hope to salvage our county from the encroaching crime wave. These two thugs came from two communities that have become synonymous with crime and a lowered quality of life. They came here hoping to find the same people they repeatedly victimize in their own communities. What they found when they got here was a community that was willing to fight back. After law enforcement, the legal system, the people of this county, and the judge had their say, Fayette County sent a clear message to every predator wanting to ply their trade here. If you just have to prey on the weak, you had better do it somewhere else or you'll spend a good, long time regretting your decision. Good Job to all involved!

Submitted by Spyglass on Fri, 11/14/2008 - 4:37pm.

But I digress...thinking isn't their forte.

They got what they deserved in my humble opinion.

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