One man was convicted and two other defendants entered guilty pleas for luring a man to a rural cemetery to rob him.
Jurors found defendant Joseph Spivey guilty on lesser charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and aggravated assault following a day-long trial Wednesday. He could face three to six years in prison on the felony assault charge when he appears for sentencing before Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley on May 9.
His partners in crime, Nicholas James Klingerman and Alanis Cheyenne Cook, both entered guilty pleas immediately following Spivey’s trial to charges of carjacking and were directed to serve 360 days of eight-year sentences and must both make $1,000 restitution. They were released on time-served since they have been behind bars since the incident last January.
The victim told the 10-woman, two-man jury he met a woman named Patricia on the Lots of Fish dating website. The woman was Cook posing as Patricia. After talking for a couple of days online, the two met for a date, going to the skating rink after rendezvousing at Walmart.
After the date, the victim said she directed him to take her back to “her brother’s house,” the route taking them through Blues Hill Cemetery.
“She told me to pull over,” he told the jury, noting he had only been stopped for a few seconds when he was accosted.
The victim continued, “The door opened and she was gone and there was some man crawling into the seat while another man was tapping at my window.”
The man said he was pulled from his Ford Mustang and pistol whipped, cutting his lip. “I became cooperative when he put the gun in my face,” the victim admitted. The gun was later found to be a BB gun.
After a few minutes, the men fled in his car, leaving him in the dark cemetery. He called authorities from a nearby house.
Sheriff’s investigator Stephen Carpenter testified he was able to find the woman’s picture on Walmart surveillance video and was able to download her picture from the Lots of Fish website.
“I put it out there to officers and pretty soon someone recognized her,” Carpenter told the jury, noting he then went to her home to question her and found Klingerman there. He also found a BB gun in plain view.
Following interviews, the suspects reportedly started turning on one another with Klingerman and Cook claiming Spivey was the mastermind of the online date turned ambush. In a taped interview, played for the jurors, Spivey maintained he only came down to “get high” with Klingerman and was convinced to go along with him to “scare” Cook’s date. He admitted on tape he was the one who hit the victim with the gun but maintained things got out of hand and a robbery had not been planned.
“It was stupid,” he admitted, denying claims by his partners in crime he had talked them into helping him with the heist so he could afford to keep his motorcycle from being repossessed.
Spivey maintained a Facebook message he sent to the couple the following day saying, “Thanks for the fun last night,” was intended to be a joke.
While jurors did not convict him of the original charge of aggravated robbery, they did find him responsible for the crime given their two guilty verdicts.