A Muscogee County Superior Court judge sentenced a man acquitted of murder charges but found guilty of multiple counts of aggravated assault and other felonies to 70 years in prison Monday afternoon.
Rodger O’Brien Scales was tried more than a month ago for the 2010 shotgun slaying of Kelley Leggett, but it was testimony from a 2006 Phenix City rape victim that set the stage for a lengthy and emotional hearing that saw Scales deny his guilt.
Judge Gil McBride sentenced Scales, 28, to serve 20 years on each of the aggravated assault charges and 10 years for his conviction of criminal conspiracy to commit armed robbery. The judge then ordered the sentences be served consecutively. He also sentenced Scales to 30 years’ probation on another robbery conviction.
Leggett’s girlfriend, Angela Crawford, angrily spoke directly to Scales during witness impact statements. Crawford and Theodore Leggett, the murder victim’s brother, were wounded during the raid.
“He should go through hell like everybody else did,” Crawford said. “Do you know how many lives you have destroyed?”
She then spoke to the judge.
“Keep his a-- where it is supposed to be — in jail,” she said.
Before Crawford spoke, Assistant District Attorney LaRae Moore made a case for McBride to hand out a lengthy sentence despite the murder acquittal. He could have been sentenced up to 105 years in prison. A large part of the case for maximum time was built around the testimony of a Phenix City woman who claimed she was brutally raped by Scales on Dec. 11, 2006. There are four outstanding Russell County warrants out for Scales’ arrest in connection with the alleged rape, but he has not been indicted or tried in the case.
She was more than 8 months pregnant when she claimed Scales broke into her apartment, forced her to carry stolen electronic items to her vehicle, then took her back in the home and raped her.
After the rape, Scales poured laundry detergent on her body and scrubbed her private area, the victim said.
She was then tied up and left in the bathtub. She told police that Scales told her that her husband owed him $5,000, and if Scales did not get it in a month, he would come back for the baby.
Scales took the stand before McBride’s sentence and called the woman “delirious.”
“I don’t know what she’s talking about,” Scales said.
Moore said the rape victim’s testimony, backed up by that of two retired Phenix City police detectives, was calculated and did what it was intended to do.
“I wanted the court to know exactly what type of person it was dealing with,” Moore said after the nearly four-hour hearing.
Scales showed little remorse.
“I ain’t done nothing wrong,” he told the court. “ I didn’t shoot nobody or plan to shoot nobody.”
At the time of Leggett’s death, Scales was a convicted felon who had been out of prison for just six weeks. He served time on a felony conviction for punching his then-pregnant girlfriend in the stomach.
Moore made a passionate case for McBride to lock Scales away for a long time.
“What — if anything — could deter him from criminal activity in the future?” Moore asked.
She then looked to the gallery and pointed out that even Scales’ “own mother” was not in the courtroom for the sentencing.
Before handing down the sentence, McBride said he was doing it because of Scales’ “potential of rehabilitation and in consideration of public safety.”
Scales was tried in late July and early August for an attempted home invasion intended to rob three women who had drugs and money. But the would-be robbers went to the wrong Old Buena Vista Road apartment the evening of Nov. 9, 2010, and tried to force their way into Kelley Leggett’s home.
Responding to their knock at his front door, Kelley Leggett opened the door, saw guns and pushed it shut as the raiders tried to force it open. As his brother, Theodore Leggett, bolted the door locked, a blast of buckshot fired through the door blew a gaping hole in Kelley Leggett’s forehead.
A barrage of gunfire from outside the house followed, wounding Theodore Leggett and Crawford.
Codefendants claimed Scales was the triggerman in the fatal blast. Scales claimed he only drove the would-be robbers to a car wash near Leggett’s home, and there awaited their return.
Those witnesses included two brothers who pleaded guilty to reduced charges in exchange for their testimony. Crime-scene evidence showed other weapons fired into Leggett’s home were a Cobra .380-caliber pistol and a Glock 9 mm.
Codefendant Cleveland Gary, 26, testified that he had the Glock as he stood to the side of Leggett’s apartment while Scales fired through the door. Gary said he fired the Glock only once.
His brother Tevin Gary, 20, testified the Cobra .380 belonged to him, but that day he had loaned it to Scales.