Two on trial for armed robberies
by Wes Mayer
Two men suspected of being involved in a number of armed robberies in Newnan and Coweta County over the last year are on trial this week in Coweta Superior Court.
The defendants, Ayinde Khalil Pearson and Deandrez Sherod White, are wanted for six counts of armed robbery, one count of aggravated assault, one count of aggravated assault on a peace officer and one count of kidnapping.
A third man, Donquerius Lamonte Mahone, was also indicted for the crimes and was expected to be the third defendant in the trial, but he pleaded guilty to his charges on Tuesday. Mahone was sentenced to 40 years with 22 to serve in prison by Superior Court Judge Emory Palmer.
The case is being prosecuted by Coweta Judicial Circuit assistant district attorneys Kevin McMurry and Trey Reeves, and an intern with the office, Drew Chase, is also getting an opportunity to cross examine witnesses. White is being defended by Villa Rica attorney Julie C. Moore, and Pearson is being defended by Villa Rica attorney Andrew Garland.
The defendants are suspects in a group of robberies that occurred during August and September 2013. On Aug. 18, the Tienda Del Valle Mexican grocery on Farmer Street was robbed, then, on Aug. 21, the Carniceria Del Valle on Turkey Creek Road was robbed – there were three customers inside the store during the robbery, and they were robbed at gunpoint. Both stores have the same owner.
After the robbery of Carniceria Del Valle, a female relative of the owner followed the suspects in her vehicle, and the suspects shot at the woman, striking the vehicle in the windshield and the front grill, ending the chase.
White is a suspect in the Sept. 2 robbery of the Family Dollar on Temple Avenue in Newnan. For this robbery, a fourth suspect, Reggie J. Crowder, was also arrested. Crowder was 15 at the time of his arrest. The four suspects are believed to be connected, and are also suspected of being involved in robberies in Luthersville and Hogansville.
On Tuesday a jury was selected, after which Mahone pleaded guilty.
On Wednesday, attorneys gave their opening arguments and the prosecution called a number of witnesses to the stand, including victims from the Carniceria Del Valle robbery, Mahone and Investigator Mark Callahan with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, who was the lead investigator on the robbery and shooting.
When he took the stand, Mahone said he was never getting out of prison, so it didn’t matter what he said. He claimed he was responsible for all the robberies, fired all the shots and said that everything he told authorities in and outside the court prior to Wednesday had all been lies.
The trial is continuing with video interviews of the defendants Thursday morning at 9 at the Coweta Justice Center on Greenville Street.