Last summer’s “Shotgun Bandits” from West Columbia sentenced for string of robberies in Lexington Co
Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Three people who terrorized convenience store and restaurant employees and customers across Lexington County in the summer of 2018 have all been sentenced for their parts in the multiple hold ups. The robberies started on June 16, 2018 and ended when the first arrest was made after June 27, 2018. In between those dates, the suspects robbed eight businesses using a shotgun that law enforcement officers say was loaded and ready. The crime spree had police across the county on high alert as the trio indiscriminately hit their targets and used terror as a tool to get away with the loot.
Devontre Cortell Jackson, a 27-year-old man from West Columbia, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of Armed Robbery and was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Walton J. McLeod, IV, to thirty-three (33) years in prison.
Jason Rashad-Knight Timmons, a 19-year-old man from West Columbia, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of Armed Robbery and was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge William P Keesley, to twenty (20) years in prison. Timmons faced a possibility of 30 years in prison for each armed robbery and there were no plea negotiations made on his case.
De’Avian Deanne Young, an 18-year-old woman from West Columbia who was the first that was taken into custody, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of Armed Robbery and was sentenced by Chief Administrative Judge Frank R. Addy, Jr., to ten (10) years in prison. Young faced a possibility of 30 years in prison for each armed robbery and there were no plea negotiations made on her case. Armed Robbery is classified as a “no parole” offense under South Carolina Law.
Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard said, “These three individuals terrorized Lexington County for over a week in one of the longest, most violent and aggressive string of armed robberies we have seen in a long time. The citizens of Lexington County that were victimized have received justice.”
Jackson, Timmons, and Young committed numerous armed robberies from June 16th to June 27th of 2018. In all the robberies, the same shotgun was used. Jackson acquired the shotgun the month prior, sawed it off, and added a pistol grip. He made sure that it was fully loaded in all the robberies. Only Jackson and Timmons were charged with the first robbery that occurred on June 16th. In most of the other robberies, Jackson was the planner and driver, Timmons carried the shotgun, and Young was the person grabbing the money. Almost all the robberies were captured on video surveillance.
The first robbery occurred on June 16th at the Best Stop on Leaphart Road in West Columbia. Timmons initially carried the shotgun and aimed it at the clerk demanding money. Jackson then grabbed the shotgun from Timmons and leaned over the counter pointing the shotgun closer to the clerk. This was apparently done in an effort to speed up the robbery. Jackson, Timmons, and Young then hit the Circle K located on Augusta Road on June 19th, followed by a second store that day at the Circle K on Charleston Hwy.
The next day, they attempted to rob the Wendy’s on Sunset Blvd in West Columbia as the employees were locking up and exiting the restaurant at closing. Those workers were approached by two masked individuals carrying a shotgun who said, “get them.” The employees were able to run back inside and lock the door. Approximately 30 minutes after the failed robbery of the Wendy’s, they robbed the Circle K on Sunset Blvd in West Columbia. The clerk describes hearing one say, “Give me all your money.” She thought it was a joke until she turned around to find a shotgun in her face. It remained pointed there during the entire robbery.
Subsequently, the Corner Pantry on Platt Springs Road in Springdale was robbed by the group on June 23rd and 26th. They also robbed the Pitt Stop on Edmund Hwy in Pelion on June 25th. The last robbery took place on June 27th at the Waffle House on Airport Blvd in Cayce.
This string of armed robberies gained a great deal of media attention causing businesses to be on high alert. A tip came in on June 28th from a clerk at the Speedway in West Columbia who noticed two suspicious people at the gas station looking at cameras a few days earlier. She believed those same individuals came back later and attempted to get into the Speedway, but the door was locked. The group called the number for the business listed on the door asking for assistance to get into the store. The clerk, feeling something wasn’t right, did not allow them inside. The investigation revealed that the number used to make that call came from a phone that belonged to Jackson.
Law enforcement was able to retrieve video from the Speedway and were able to identify Young and Jackson. A witness also identified Young as a suspect who was involved. Officers identified the clothes worn by her during two of the robberies that were recovered in her house. The Fugitive Task Force located Young in Columbia on July 2nd staying at the Knight’s Inn. Hearing that Young had been arrested, Jackson and Timmons fled left the state and went to New Jersey. They were apprehended by the US Marshals on July 10th and brought back to South Carolina.
The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, West Columbia Police Department, Cayce Department of Public Safety, and Springdale Police Department were all involved in the investigation of these robberies. Other departments across the county assisted by stepping up patrols, working rotating shifts to keep the three guessing about when officers were out, and providing extra checks on businesses that were open late.
Young, Jackson, and Timmons all eventually confessed to the robberies and implicated each other after first denying any involvement. Law enforcement was able to recover the clothes worn in the robberies as well as the shotgun they had hidden in the woods. Also, their phone records place them at each robbery. The investigation further revealed that the robberies were gang related.
Jackson has prior convictions for Armed Robbery, multiple counts of Grand Larceny, and two counts of Burglary. Timmons has a prior conviction for Burglary. Young did not have a prior criminal record.
Assistant Solicitor Sutania A. Fuller prosecuted these individuals for the Eleventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office and asked the sentencing judges for substantial prison sentences.