The man accused of holding up a convenience store near the Putnam County line recently was sentenced to 10 years behind bars and 10 more on probation.
Kemontaye Jashawn Smith, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery during “Zoom court” proceedings. Superior Court Judge Amanda Petty presided.
The two other suspects – Sha’ty-rone Benita Kelsey and Justin Malikk Fleming – remain in the early stages of the legal process and haven’t been sentenced. Although Baldwin County hasn’t held a grand jury since January, the District Attorney’s Office was able to move forward with the charges against Smith by using an “accusation,” which is a document similar to an indictment, just minus the grand jury.
The incident occurred in January at the Quick Pantry in the 3040 block of North Columbia Street, located just south of the lakeside Waffle House. During the course of the robbery, a deputy reportedly stopped in the parking lot of the store, looked inside and spotted a man and a woman, each holding a handgun in front of a nervous store clerk. The deputy then got out, took a position behind his patrol car and drew his service weapon. At that point, Kelsey and Smith reportedly bolted for the back of the store and laid down, while the cashier fled out of the front door.
Backup from the Milledgeville Police Department soon arrived, and Kelsey and Smith eventually made a run for the front door, according to investigators. At that point, the deputy reportedly fired one shot, missing each suspect. Kelsey and Smith then were handcuffed and arrested without further incident.
Fleming, the suspected getaway driver, was not present during the incident and later turned himself in at the county jail.
Also recently pleading guilty in “Zoom court” were:
• Aundare Griffin, Jr., 26, pleaded guilty to fleeing/ attempting to elude, failure to stop at a stop sign and driving too fast for conditions and was sentenced to four years behind bars. Griffin already is in prison, which stems from unrelated charges. Griffin has 23 different mug shots on file at the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, according to records.
• John Albert Sanders, 49, pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to 15 years behind bars. Sanders, an inmate at Baldwin State Prison, reportedly stabbed and beat another inmate and took his prison snacks.
• Altavis Traimonn Wright, 23, pleaded guilty to failure to register as a sex offender and was sentenced to three years behind bars and another 12 on probation.