Crime

Columbus women who called cabbie killed in robbery faces judge for sentencing

Officer testifies why flashy running shoes helped authorities make arrest

Columbus Police Det. Stuart Carter testified murder suspect Devin Durden was identified in surveillance video by his unique Nike running shoes, ones Carter said he's never seen on a suspect in all of the criminal cases he's worked.
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Columbus Police Det. Stuart Carter testified murder suspect Devin Durden was identified in surveillance video by his unique Nike running shoes, ones Carter said he's never seen on a suspect in all of the criminal cases he's worked.

Jasmine Monique Thomas was charged with murder for calling a cab on her cell phone.

That’s because the driver of the cab she called wound up dead, shot in the head during a robbery the morning of Oct. 17, 2016, in a trailer park off Farr Road in Columbus.

One of the two men for whom she called the cab was Dontavis Screws, her boyfriend at the time. The other was Devin Durden, a friend of Screws who on March 1 was convicted of murder in the fatal shooting of cab driver Dwayne Chronister.

Thomas and Screws testified against Durden, who without warning or provocation shot Chronister in the head after the driver responding to Thomas’ call picked them up at the Mystik Food Mart, 645 Brown Ave.

Durden told Chronister to drive them to the Parkwood Mobile Home Park, 527 Farr Road, and park in a cul de sac. That’s where Durden shot Chronister in the back of the head, took his cash, wallet and cell phone, and ran away with Screws.

A surveillance camera at the trailer park entrance recorded the cab going in at 5:06 a.m., and two men walking rapidly away minutes later. The first police car arrived at 5:56 a.m.

Chronister was pronounced dead at the hospital at 11:05 a.m. He was 50 years old.

On July 19, 2018, Screws pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and robbery in Chronister’s death. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

On Friday, it was Thomas’ turn to face the judge.

In a negotiated plea between prosecutor Al Whitaker and defense attorney Robert Wadkins Jr., the 23-year-old pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of robbery.

Judge Gil McBride sentenced her to 12 years probation and granted her first-offender status, which means her arrest will not remain on her record if she successfully completes probation, and if she fails to, may be brought back to court and sentenced up to 20 years in prison.

Wadkins noted she is pregnant, and set to give birth in about two weeks.

After Thomas told the judge she dropped out of high school in Quitman County, Georgia, in the 11th grade, McBride ordered her to earn a high school graduate equivalency degree within two years.

She also was sentenced to spend 30 weekends in jail, beginning in October, but that may be suspended with the approval of her probation officer, the judge said.

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