Two men already facing charges of kidnapping and robbery in the slaying of Sam's Club Manager David Holt now face accusations they took part in a double homicide the year before Mr. Holt was killed.
Carlston W. Coleman, 30, and Ronald Coleman Jr., 29, are named with six other people in a March 27 Richmond County Superior Court indictment unsealed Tuesday when authorities arrested Jarman L. Harold, 24, a former Augusta resident living in Columbus, Ga.
The new indictment accuses the two Colemans, who are not related, of the same charges they face in a January indictment in the robbery of Sam's Club on June 21, 1998 - kidnapping, burglary, armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle and a weapon violation. If murder charges are filed in the case, they must be filed in Aiken County or in federal court because Mr. Holt, 45, was killed just across the Savannah River in South Carolina.
The new indictment replaces the January charges, and those accused in it could face trial April 24, District Attorney Danny Craig said Tuesday at a news conference.
The new indictment also accuses the Colemans; Mr. Harold; Charles D. Winter, 27; Kendric Dudley, 30; Ronnie B. Overton Jr., 21; Laverne Ellis, 28; and John Lamar Travis of violating the state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
While seven of the suspects named in the indictment are in custody, Mr. Travis' whereabouts are unknown, Mr. Craig said.
The RICO count, a crime punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison, is based on a slew of alleged criminal acts, including the July 24, 1997, slayings of Ryan J. Singh, 21, and Manuel B. Arroyo, 19.
The indictment alleges all of the suspects except Ms. Ellis participated in the double homicide.
According to the indictment, on July 23, 1997, Ronald Coleman, Mr. Winter, Mr. Travis and others were robbed of $8,000 to $10,000 by masked people with Jamaican accents. Allegedly, Mr. Coleman and Mr. Winters believed Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Singh set them up to be robbed.
Mr. Arroyo, according to the indictment, introduced Ronald Coleman to several Jamaican marijuana suppliers in the Atlanta area, and Mr. Coleman and Mr. Winters conducted several deals with the men at Mr. Travis' DeKalb County home. According to the indictment, Mr. Coleman was arrested in South Carolina with 4 pounds of marijuana that he had received from Jamaican dealers but hadn't yet paid for.
The demise of Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Singh was plotted the night of July 23, 1997, at Carlston Coleman's McDowell Street home, the indictment alleges. The Colemans, Mr. Winters, Mr. Travis, Mr. Harold, Mr. Overton and Mr. Dudley were present, the indictment alleges.
Hours later, the indictment continues, Ronald Coleman, Mr. Travis, Mr. Harold, Mr. Overton, Mr. Winters and Mr. Dudley went to the apartment where Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Singh lived. The group allegedly beat them and abducted them, eventually taking the two to Otis Jones Road in Warren County, where the two were killed by gunshots to the back of the head, the indictment alleges.
District Attorney Dennis Sanders, whose circuit includes Warren County, said Tuesday he had not determined what if any charges could be filed in his circuit because the Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents are still working on the case.
According to the indictment, the double slaying wasn't the first trip to Otis Jones Road in Warren County for Mr. Harold. One of the underlying crimes in the RICO charge concerns a stolen 1978 Chevrolet Caprice Mr. Harold is accused of taking and torching on Otis Jones Road. He then allegedly stole another car within walking distance of the burning vehicle. That automobile was later found stripped in Columbia County, according to the indictment.
Mr. Craig said Tuesday that in order to convict someone of a RICO charge, a prosecutor must prove at least two of the underlying alleged crimes, and the two cannot be crimes that already resulted in convictions.
According to the indictment, the RICO conspiracy spanned Feb. 3, 1994, through Jan. 30, 1998, and included "an interrelated pattern of racketeering activity motivated by, and the effect of which was, pecuniary gain, physical injury and murder ..."
In addition to the double homicide, the indictment alleges the following underlying crimes:
Federal income tax fraud - Ronald Coleman and Carlston Coleman pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Augusta in October 1999. Both received sentences including prison time and the federal form of probation.
Thefts - Ronald Coleman and Mr. Harold are accused of possessing stolen vehicles. Both have Richmond County convictions for theft by receiving stolen vehicles.
Fraud - Ms. Ellis and Carlston Coleman are accused of stealing from Sam's Club, where Ms. Ellis worked from May 1997 until October 1998 as a cashier and allegedly allowed Carlston Coleman to purchase merchandise with fraudulent checks.
Counterfeiting - Carlston Coleman, Ronald Coleman and Mr. Harold were present when Carlston Coleman's McDowell Street home was searched by agents who reported finding counterfeit cash.
Forgery conspiracy - Ronald Coleman fled on foot after a traffic stop allegedly resulted in the recovery of stolen checks, $935 in cash, and phony Social Security cards and driver's licenses.
Fictitious checks - Ronald Coleman was charged but not convicted of conspiracy to pass approximately 30 fake payroll checks in Macon.
Staff Writer Sylvia Cooper contributed to this article.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226.