Foot Locker robbery case closed with final plea

Authorities had been waiting to close the case of a 2006 robbery at the Macon Road Foot Locker. On Tuesday, they did.

Earl Dupass, 22, was the last of five defendants charged in the Aug. 25, 2006, to stand before a judge. Pleading guilty to armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Robert Johnston III gave him 10 years in prison, followed by five years' probation.

Ashley Herring, 21, pleaded guilty to hindering apprehension or punishment of a criminal. She was given three years' probation.

"I would like to apologize . . ." Dupass said before Johnston cut him off.

"I don't want to hear him," the judge said.

Dupass was identified as a suspect during the June 2007 trial of Devin Harper, a co-defendant in the case, said Senior Assistant District Attorney Stacey Jackson. Shortly afterward, they learned Herring was his girlfriend and that she had recently had his child. Witnesses had seen the two of them together, and she was told that if Dupass should surface, she should call police.

Instead, they two disappeared into Alabama for months, returning to Columbus every so often, Jackson said. Ultimately, Dupass was arrested.

Prosecutors had accused Dupass of entering the shoe store just before 9 p.m. with three other men. One of them was Harper, 21, who used a gun to rob the store and forced three employees into a back room. Harper was convicted in June 2007 of armed robbery and sentenced to 20 years in prison without the chance for parole.

The other two men who went inside the store — Christopher Bitoy, 20, and Brandon Magee, 22 — pleaded guilty last year. Bitoy received 12 years in prison on charges of armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Magee got 10 years in prison on similar charges, Jackson said.

The fifth man — Anton Faulkner, 28 — was acquitted by a jury of armed robbery, kidnapping and firearm charges.