Two men sentenced after six plead in fatal Columbus home invasion, drug robbery
A judge Wednesday sentenced two more of the six suspects in a fatal Columbus 2020 home invasion that was orchestrated by a street gang to steal money and drugs from a woman in the Upatoi area.
They and their four cohorts pleaded guilty Monday before Judge John Martin, who already has sentenced two of them. Two more defendants, both women who were teenagers at the time, are yet to learn their fate.
All were set to go to trial this week in Muscogee Superior Court, accused of killing Cross Henderson and beating others held at gunpoint while robbing Henderson’s mother, Autumn Lynn Tillery, of money and drugs in her home on Autumn Ridge Drive.
Each defendant made a plea deal with prosecutors.
Sentenced Wednesday morning was Anthony Nathan Foster, 26, who pleaded to home invasion, armed robbery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and violating Georgia’s gang terrorism act. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison with 18 to serve and the rest on probation.
On Wednesday afternoon, Martin sentenced Laqwane Demarcus Kindred, 29, who pleaded to robbery. He was to be sentenced to 15 years in prison with seven to serve and the rest on probation, under his plea deal.
But defense attorney William Kendrick noted his client had been jailed three years, while awaiting trial, and under Georgia Department of Corrections guidelines, he soon could be paroled with credit for time served, as a robbery conviction carried no mandatory sentence.
That raised the question of how long Kindred would be in state custody, and whether his sentence instead should be served at the Muscogee County Prison in Columbus. After Martin recessed court so attorneys could research the issue, he ordered that Kindred serve his time at the county prison, where 11 beds were available and Kindred could be put on work details providing city services.
Calculating the time Kindred had left to serve, after his years in jail, the judge imposed a sentence of 15 years with 110 months to serve at the county prison, despite objections from District Attorney Stacey Jackson, who insisted that deviated from the plea agreement Kindred signed on Monday.
Jackson argued it was not the same as Kindred’s serving his sentence in a state prison, where he would not be released without a hearing before the state parole board. Prosecutors and the victim’s family had no assurance that Kindred would serve the full sentence, because the county prison could give him additional credit for his jail time and release him early, without a hearing, Jackson said.
Shot from behind
Authorities said the defendants were in a gang known as FNG that at gunpoint on Jan. 18, 2020, confronted Henderson and some guests in the backyard of his home. The gang marched them inside before separating Henderson from the others and ordering him upstairs, where Tillery allegedly stashed a supply of drugs.
Henderson was shot from behind as he tried to run up the stairs, telling his mother to call 911. The intruders then took all their captives up the stairs, collected the loot from the mother’s bathroom and fled in a white car, their coming and going recorded on a neighbor’s security cameras.
Though the intruders tried to disguise themselves with shirts tied around their faces, one of the victims told detectives he recognized Foster, who had attended Columbus’ Northside High School with Henderson, authorities said. Henderson graduated from Northside in 2016.
Foster and four of the other defendants also had been involved in robbing the home the week before, prosecutors said. That robbery on Jan. 11, 2020, was not reported to police, they said.
Kindred was not involved in that robbery, they said.
The shooter, and the rest
The defendant who shot Henderson was Trevonius Tyriq Williams, 25, who after mortally wounding him said “Sorry about your a--,” according to lead prosecutor Sadhana Dailey.
He shot Henderson in the buttocks, but the bullet penetrated vital organs. Henderson, 21, died at the hospital.
Williams pleaded guilty Monday to murder, home invasion, armed robbery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and violating the gang terrorism act. Martin sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole, meaning he will serve at least 30 years before he’s eligible for release.
The other defendant sentenced Monday was Ceuion Marque English. 26. He pleaded to home invasion, armed robbery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and violating the gang terrorism act. Martin sentenced him to 30 years in prison with 20 to serve and the rest on probation.
The two women involved still await sentencing. One was 16 at the time:
Mercedes Annmarie Kraft, 21.
Toni Nicole Toole, 19.
Each pleaded to two counts of robbery. They entered a “cold plea,” meaning prosecutors agreed to no sentencing recommendation in exchange for their pleas. The maximum sentence for robbery is 20 years in prison.