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Henry County man pleads guilty in robbery plot
Attempt resulted in man's death in 2010
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
DANVILLE — A Henry County marijuana dealer pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking part in a robbery conspiracy that ended in a shooting death.
Rodney Lamar Hairston, 22, of Martinsville, became the fifth and final defendant to plead guilty to charges related to the 2010 incident when he entered the pleas Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Danville.
He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and in the course of that violation did cause the death of another person in the first degree, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Akorean JaJauntex Murphy was shot to death in the incident, the release added.
Previously, Keith Clifton Hairston, 26, Tremain Alando Thomas, 27, Quentin Dwayne McNebb, 36, of Martinsville, and Andrew Albert Christian Edward Armour, 21, of Los Angeles, Calif., each pleaded guilty to the same charges as Rodney Hairston, the release stated.
“Mr. Hairston and his co-conspirators orchestrated a robbery that ended in homicide,” U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said Tuesday, according to the release. “Their greed motivated reckless behavior that led to the loss of life. This office will continue to do all we can to curb violent crime and take those dedicated to violence off the streets.”
According to a statement of facts entered into the record and agreed to by each defendant, in 2010, Rodney Hairston contacted his cousin, a known gang member, to recruit other gang members to help him rob one of his regular drug customers, the release stated. Ultimately, Keith Hairston, Thomas, Armour and McNebb agreed to conduct the robbery, the release added.
While Murphy and another man — the customers — allegedly were purchasing marijuana from Rodney Hairston at his home in Henry County on Jan. 26, 2010, Keith Hairston, Thomas, McNebb and Armour had driven down the road about one mile and were setting up an ambush, according to the release.
As the two customers left Rodney Hairston’s home, Thomas and Keith Hairston left their vehicle, both armed with loaded pistols, according to the release. McNebb and Armour waited inside the vehicle, it added.
When the customers’ car pulled up to a stop sign, Keith Hairston and Thomas allegedly fired shots into the car, hitting both customers, the release stated. Murphy, who was in the passenger seat, returned fire, it stated.
After the shooting ended, the customers’ car rolled through the intersection and into a ditch, where it came to rest. According to previous reports, the 2009 Chevrolet Impala was found near the intersection of Irisburg and Hobson roads in Axton.
Shortly after the shooting, one of the customers got out of his vehicle and was picked up by a passing truck and taken to a local hospital, the release stated. Murphy lay on the front passenger floorboard, severely injured and moaning, the release stated.
Keith Hairston reached into the vehicle and grabbed the bag of marijuana that was underneath Murphy’s body, the release stated. Murphy later died of gunshot wounds to his head and chest, it added.
Each defendant faces a maximum possible penalty of life in prison on the death charge and up to five years in prison on the drug conspiracy charge. The release did not say when sentencing will be held.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the Henry County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Wolthuis prosecuted for the United States.