A Columbus man jailed last week on armed robbery charges confessed to holding up a liquor store with a sawed-off shotgun, but claimed he did not intentionally fire the weapon at a responding officer, investigators said.
Despite the confession, Ormond Kirkland pleaded not guilty this afternoon to a sheaf of charges stemming from two robberies and an attempted robbery. Recorder’s Court Judge Cynthia Maisano found probable cause and bound the cases to Superior Court.
Kirkland, 17, was implicated in the robberies by his co-defendant, 21-year-old O’markeon Kelley, police said. Kelley was arrested Monday outside Recorder’s Court, where he was due to appear on unrelated charges.
The first robbery happened Sept. 17 at Rooster’s Package store on Macon Road. Police said Kirkland and Kelley dressed in all black and wore bandannas around their faces, a disguise that prevented any of their alleged victims from identifying them.
“You could basically just see their eyes and some of their skin,” Cpl. Katina Williams said.
According to police, the men tried to rob the same store five days later but were thwarted by an automatic locking system on the door. About thirty minutes later, they robbed Mr. B’s Liquor Beer & Wine using the same sawed-off shotgun that witnesses reported seeing at Rooster’s Package.
A responding police officer confronted the men, and the parties exchanged gunfire, Williams said. Kirkland was shot once in the calf but allegedly managed to flee the scene, dropping the cash and the shotgun. Williams said Kirkland’s parents then took him to a hospital in Tennessee for treatment.
“He’s been here just laying low since the incident,” the detective added.
Kirkland, in his confession to police, said that the shotgun was discharged inadvertently when it fell to the ground.
Surveillance video, however, shows Kirkland standing and firing, Williams said.
In addition to both men’s confessions, investigators pointed to additional evidence on Kirkland’s body: the gunshot wound that is still healing.
Kirkland’s defense attorney, Stacey Jackson, asked Maisano to dismiss the charges stemming from the Sept. 17 robbery of Rooster’s Package, saying police have only Kelley’s statements and no physical evidence.
Police, however, pointed out that the shotgun used in each of the robberies appeared to be one and the same.
In all, police charged Kirkland with attempted robbery, four counts of armed robbery, aggravated assault, aggravated assault of a police officer and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He also is charged with theft of a motor vehicle and burglary in separate cases.
Kelley, meanwhile, faces charges of attempted robbery, four counts of armed robbery, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, five counts of aggravated assault, aggravated assault of a police officer and hijacking of a motor vehicle.
Both me are being held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail.