Two Columbus men go to trial in robberies, carjackings

Two men connected to a crime spree involving armed robberies and carjackings in 2012 are going to trial this week in Muscogee Superior Court.

Joshua Travone Dodson, 24, and Dearius Deante Ransom, 23, both face two counts each of armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle, using a firearm to commit a crime and obstructing police.

Ransom alone faces two counts of being a convicted felon with a firearm. And that’s not all:

In a separate indictment that does not involve Dodson, Ransom and two others face multiple counts of armed robbery and using weapons to commit crimes in incidents reported in early June 2012.

The suspects indicted with Ransom for those offenses are Iman Deloach, 20, and Anthony Jones, 21.

In that indictment, both Ransom and Jones face nine counts of armed robbery, 10 of using a firearm to commit a crime, and one of aggravated assault. Deloach is charged with 10 counts of armed robbery, 11 of using a gun to commit a crime, and one each of aggravated assault, hijacking a motor vehicle and obstructing police.

The defendants have been in the news for other reasons:

Columbus attorney Michael Eddings, who once represented Jones, was accused of contempt of court for questioning Dodson, Ransom and Deloach at the county jail May 12, 2013, without their attorneys’ knowledge, a violation of professional standards. Judge Art Smith III fined Eddings $3,000 after a hearing May 22, 2014.

Eddings recorded his conversations with the suspects, and prosecutors sought those recordings as evidence against Ransom and Dodson in the case now going to trial. Smith denied the prosecution’s motion this past March 31, and ordered that evidence sealed.

Eddings has withdrawn from the case, and attorney Jennifer Curry now represents Jones, who with Ransom and Deloach will be tried later.

In the case going to trial now, Dodson and Ransom are accused of using a gun to hijack cars on June 28, 2012.

Police say the two robbed a woman outside a Fort Benning Road service station after she parked her black Chevrolet Impala there and went inside. She told officers a man called to her when she came back out, and when she looked over, he pointed a pistol at her.

He put the gun to her head and took $260 cash and her car keys, after which he and his accomplice left in her Impala as she called 911, police said. The Impala later pulled up beside a man and his girlfriend, who were in a Ford Crown Victoria on St. Marys Road. One man inside the Impala pointed a pistol and forced the couple out of their car, then tried to drive off in the Ford. But after he damaged the car jumping a curb, he got back into the Impala, the victims said.

Officers searching the area found the Impala, but its occupants had fled.

Investigators later identified Dodson and Ransom as suspects in the carjackings. Then-Detective Cathy Bush on July 2, 2012, learned the two were in the area of Columbus’ Elizabeth Canty Homes off Cusseta Road.

The two ran when police confronted them, but soon were captured. Their fleeing resulted in their charges of obstructing police.

According to his indictment Ransom faces charges of being a convicted felon with a firearm because he was convicted of burglary July 28, 2009.

Jury selection in the case against Ransom and Dodson is to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday.