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Three suspects will be tried together

Charges stem from fatal 2010 robbery

POSTED: October 4, 2012 12:34 a.m.
 

The remaining defendants linked to the 2010 killing of an Ingles security guard will be tried together.

Forsyth County Superior Court Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley has denied motions for the three suspects to have separate trials.

Sharod Johnson and Tyrice Kendall Adside, both 20 and of Forsyth County, and Tavarius Jackson, 18, of Buford have pleaded not guilty to two counts each of armed robbery and felony murder and one count each of murder and aggravated assault.

The three were charged in connection with the Sept. 5, 2010, armed robbery at the Ingles on Canton Road during which a security guard was killed.

In April, 20-year-old Nakitta Holmes of Buford admitted to fatally shooting 37-year-old David Casto. Holmes received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The trial for Johnson, Adside and Jackson on six counts associated with the robbery is scheduled for February.

During a hearing Tuesday, defense attorneys for the three men argued that trying the three together would cause prejudice and confuse a jury, which would not allow for a fair trial.

“The jury can’t erase what they’ve already heard,” said Joyette Holmes, the attorney for Johnson.

The prosecution agreed to redact the names of co-defendants given in any statements, said Sandra Partridge, Forsyth County assistant district attorney.

She felt that it wouldn’t be justice to hear each case separately.

“You act together, you stand together,” Partridge said. “None of them acted alone.”

Despite a request by Adside’s attorney, James Hodes, the murder counts will remain for the other three young men.

Hodes said Nakitta Holmes is “solely responsible for the death of Mr. Casto.”

The prosecution plans to argue in the trial, however, that the remaining defendants are “party to the crime of murder” and “responsible for the actions of the group, Partridge said.

Bagley ruled that the motion to drop those counts is “premature” and can be decided after the state makes its case at the trial.

He also denied requests by attorneys for the three defendants to separate the charges from two other robberies that occurred in Forsyth County about two weeks before the Ingles incident.

Johnson and Adside also have an additional two counts each of armed robbery, as well as one additional count each of aggravated assault and burglary.

Those two robberies took place at Waffle House on Bethelview Road and another at Chevron on Buford Highway.

Jackson also faces an additional count of armed robbery and one burglary charge for his alleged involvement in only the Chevron robbery.

Another suspect, 20-year-old Darren Jerrard Slayton of Forsyth County, could also be tried for the Waffle House and Chevron incidents, for which he faces two counts of armed robbery and one of aggravated assault.

He is scheduled, however, to enter a guilty plea in the case.

The charges of each defendant will be given in writing to the jury but heard in the same trial.

Bagley also granted a motion, at the state’s request, to allow testimony involving three Waffle House robberies in neighboring Gwinnett County in which the defendants are suspects.

Partridge said all the incidents in question are more than similar, “but a signature crime.”

Bagley reserved ruling on the defendants’ request for a change of trial venue until the jury selection process has begun.

 

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