Originally created 01/06/01

Judge denies bond for robbery, slaying suspects



A teen-ager and a man accused of killing a convenience store clerk in a robbery that netted $15 will await possible indictment and trial behind bars.

Chief Judge William M. Fleming Jr. ordered 17-year-old Curtis M. Woodyard and 26-year-old Edward E. Judkins held without bond Friday afternoon in Richmond County Superior Court.

Both men face charges of murder, armed robbery and use of a weapon during the commission of a crime in the Nov. 27 robbery and slaying of Gordon Petty, 48.

Assistant District Attorney Shauna Reeves told the judge Friday the two men robbed Mr. Petty as he worked at the Holiday Market, 3033 Wheeler Road. He was taken behind the store and shot in the back of the head with a 20-gauge shotgun, Ms. Reeves said.

Investigators were able to charge the men with the robbery and slaying after arresting Mr. Judkins and David E. Littlejohn, 19, on charges of armed robbery, kidnapping and attempted armed robbery in connection with the Dec. 28 crimes at a McDonald's on Washington Road, Ms. Reeves said. When questioned, Mr. Judkins named Mr. Woodyard as the triggerman in Mr. Petty's shooting, the prosecutor said.

Mr. Woodyard admitted to shooting Mr. Petty, Ms. Reeves said, and gave sheriff's investigators the shotgun he said he had used. The weapon belonged to Mr. Judkins, she added.

Mr. Woodyard's defense attorney, Luther McDaniel, asked Judge Fleming to consider bond for the young man. Everyone, the attorney said, was shocked by the charges against Mr. Woodyard, who had never been in trouble with the law.

Mr. Judkins' attorney, Jeff Bowman, also asked the judge to consider releasing his client on bond. Mr. Judkins maintains his innocence in the murder case, Mr. Bowman said.

Ms. Reeves told the judge Mr. Judkins had prior convictions in North Carolina for breaking and entering and larceny.

Judge Fleming denied bond, saying he believed both men posed a significant threat to the community.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226.