Prosecutor: Suspect immediately wrecked car during hijacking

It was just after midnight June 28, 2012, when a woman parked her black Chevy Impala at a Pure service station on Fort Benning Road and went in to get a drink.

When she came out, a man pointing a gun forced her to the side of the building and took her cash and car keys before he and three others left in her car.

Her car showed up again at 8 p.m. that same day, this time at a car wash on Buena Vista Road, where a man and his girlfriend were having a chat. Driving separate cars, they went to a tax service on St. Mary’s Road to continue their conversation outside.

Then the black Impala pulled up, occupied by four men. A gunman got out, beat the boyfriend and took his car keys. One of the men then got in the boyfriend’s Ford Crown Victoria and tried to drive away.

He didn’t make it: Misjudging a curb, he drove the car over an embankment and blew out the front tires. He got back into the Impala, and the four men drove off.

That’s the story Assistant District Attorney Wesley Lambertus told a jury Tuesday in the trial of Joshua Travone Dodson, 24, and Dearius Deante Ransom, 23, who face two counts each of armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle, using a firearm to commit a crime and obstructing police.

Dodson and Ransom were the only suspects the girlfriend could identify from the photo lineups police later showed her, the prosecutor said. She told officers she had seen them together before, and recognized their faces. Her beau could identify only Ransom, Lambertus said.

Having the suspects’ names, police tracked them down July 2, 2012, and caught them after a foot chase. Their running from officers led to their obstruction charge.

That’s the only charge they’re guilty of, defense attorneys said.

Tim Flournoy, who represents Dodson, told jurors the girlfriend’s identifying Dodson would be the only evidence against him: No fingerprints police found on the Impala or the Crown Vic matched him.

Though the woman said she recognized Dodson, she was not acquainted with him, Flournoy said: “She didn’t know my client.”

All Dodson did wrong was run when the police came for him, Flournoy said.

That’s all Ransom did, too, said his attorney Will Kirby. When eight to 10 police cars came roaring up, Ransom got scared and ran, Kirby said.

He said the woman robbed at the Pure station told police the gunman had shoulder-length dreadlocks. Ransom did not have that hairstyle, he said.

And just as Flournoy said of Dodson, police found no fingerprints matching Ransom’s, Kirby said.

The trial resumes today at 9 a.m. in the seventh-floor Government Center courtroom of Judge Art Smith III.