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Man lures foreign student here via Facebook, beats and robs him, gets ID’d on Facebook

Justin Hollis
Justin Hollis

While dealing with a Columbus man via Facebook, an Auburn University grad student from South Korea drove here to buy a PlayStation 4 and wound up pistol-whipped, robbed and thrown from a moving car.

And the story did not end there, as Justin “Trapboi” Hollis, the man who set Dae Kyung Seong up to be beaten and robbed of $250 and a cellphone on Dec. 8, 2014, neglected to go back and delete his Facebook account, upon which he had posted photos of himself, including a selfie in which he pointed a pistol at the camera.

Hollis soon was in police custody, and he’ll soon be off to prison after a jury Tuesday found him guilty of armed robbery, aggravated assault and using a firearm to commit a felony, following a seven-day trial during which Seong testified via Skype from a hotel in Poland.

That’s how jurors heard Seong, 31, tell of shopping for a PlayStation 4 via a Facebook yard sale app, which led him to Hollis, who at first messaged Seong, “It’s sold already,” but then added, “Never mind. Come meet us tonight.”

Seong, who was here on a student visa for a degree in education, drove from Auburn, Al., to the Wal-Mart on Buena Vista Road, where he parked out front. Soon a car with three men in it pulled up, and Seong recognized Hollis sitting in the back seat.

Seong got out to look into a bag Hollis proffered, but what he saw inside didn’t look like a PlayStation 4. Hollis invited him to get into the backseat for a closer look, and Seong did.

Inside the car, Seong saw the bag contained a PlayStation 3. He told Hollis he didn’t want it and reached for the door handle.

The driver locked and childproofed the doors and raced away as Hollis and the front-seat passenger bashed Seong repeatedly over the head with a pistol. Seong said Hollis hit him about 20 times and the other passenger about five times.

As Seong was being beaten, the driver sped into the neighborhood behind the Wal-Mart, where the men took Seong’s cash and phone, and while traveling about 40 mph, pushed him out an open rear door.

Then they slowed down to close the door and, through the blood pouring down his face, Seong saw the first five digits of the car tag and memorized them.

Then he was battered, bloody, penniless and alone, without his phone, in a strange city, where it was getting dark.

But the robbers just happened to push him out of the car in front of a woman who was standing out in her driveway on Sandusky Drive, and she called 911. Seong went first to a local hospital and then back to Auburn, where he got staples in his head.

At Auburn he and his girlfriend went online looking for Hollis, who had blocked Seong from his Facebook page — but not Seong’s girlfriend, who had full access to Hollis’ account, the address for which included the name “datboikilla.”

During the trial Hollis, 27, sought sympathy from his having to have dialysis three times a week, raising doubts of whether he had the strength to beat Seong so badly.

“He’s not very strong,” said Seong, who had served in the South Korean military and thought he could have taken the robbers on had they not been armed and he outnumbered.

Authorities think they know who the other two robbers were, but Seong could not identify them, so only Hollis was charged.

Assistant District Attorney Wesley Lambertus said Seong was his first witness to testify via Skype. Seong appeared on big TV screens in Judge Art Smith III’s courtroom.

Seong’s student visa had expired, Lambertus said, and he was visiting Poland, which is six hours ahead of Columbus. He took the virtual witness stand around 2 p.m. and testified for three hours. In Poland, that was from about 8 p.m. until 11 p.m.

Judge Smith set Hollis’ sentencing for Oct. 26. He could face life in prison.