Prosecutors say all six of the youths who conspired to rob a Beersheba Street man in a plot that turned deadly are responsible for his death under the eyes of the law.
“In for a penny, in for a pound,” said District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis of the six suspects, four of them juveniles, who have been arrested for criminal homicide in the shooting death of Osbaldo Luna, 43.
The victim was gunned down Tuesday inside a camper where he lived behind The Detail Shop in Mt. Leo. Investigators suspect Luna may have been asleep when 17-year-old Sam Brinkley charged through the door and opened fire, spraying the inside of the small trailer with at least nine rounds from an SKS assault rifle.
Brinkley has reportedly admitted to the killing, telling officers they went there to rob Luna of what they thought was a large amount of marijuana. Brinkley said he panicked when he stepped through the door, thinking Luna might shoot him.
Brinkley is charged with criminal homicide along with fellow 17-year-olds, Charles Guess, Malik Scott and Melvin Horn. Also charged are adults Tyler Allen Jones, 19, and Nicholas D. McGee, 20. All six are from Coffee County and lawmen say the plan to rob Luna was hatched at the high school there where several were students.
The suspects also face lesser charges of attempted aggravated burglary, attempted theft, pos-session of burglary tools, and curfew violations, along with the homicide charge.
As for the charge that could hold life in prison for all of those who are convicted of the count, Zavogiannis said prosecutors believe the six suspects all entered a conspiracy to rob Luna and there-fore, they are each culpable for his death -- even though just one of them pulled the trigger.
“They each share criminal responsibility,” Zavogiannis said. “It is our theory they are all just as guilty as the other.”
Zavogiannis equated it to a bank robbery where the person who serves as the lookout is just as responsible for the crime as the person who robs the bank.
The evidence revealed thus far suggests three of the teens crawled under the fenced yard where Luna’s camper was parked with plans to rob him while the other three stayed outside and kept watch. It is also believed Guess provided the guns, which he says he took from his mother.
Prosecutors plan to ask Juvenile Court Judge Bill Locke to transfer the four 17-year-olds into adult court where they will be tried alongside the two adults. The transfer hearing is set for Feb. 4. Once they are transferred, they will remain held in a juvenile facility in Rutherford County until their 18th birthdays, at which time they will be sent to wait for trial at Warren County Jail.