One of three men indicted on bank robbery charges in federal court last week also may face armed robbery and other charges in state court.
On Wednesday, Richmond County Civil Court Chief Judge William D. Jennings III ruled probable cause existed to send the case against Tommy Cotton to the grand jury for possible indictment.
Mr. Cotton, 28, is accused of robbing the First Union National Bank on Walton Way Extension on April 3, a day after he allegedly robbed a Martinez Eckerd Drug Store and two days before he allegedly robbed a First Union in Martinez.
On May 4, a federal grand jury indicted Mr. Cotton and Tavine L. Marshall, 20, on charges of bank robbery and possession and use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence. Brian K. Oatman Jr., 19, was indicted on a charge of being an accessory after the fact of bank robbery.
Richmond County Investigator Kenny Lynch, testified Wednesday during Mr. Cotton's preliminary hearing. He said he was on the way to Mr. Cotton's last known address when he heard a police scanner report about the Martinez bank robbery.
When Mr. Cotton was arrested a short time later, he had a gun in his pocket, and his hands were stained with red dye, Investigator Lynch testified. A dye packet had exploded on the cash the Columbia County bank robber had taken, according to court records.
In addition to the armed robbery charge in Richmond County, Mr. Cotton also faces possible indictment on charges of obstruction and attempted escape, felony crimes that allegedly occurred after his arrest. He also may face indictment in Columbia County for the armed robberies of the bank and the drug store.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226.