Teen gets life in prison

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Johnny Overstreet Jr.: Former Laney football player was convicted for committing a string of robberies with former classmates.

A former high school football star who had a full college scholarship awaiting him was sentenced Friday to life in prison plus five years.

Johnny Overstreet Jr., 19, was convicted of more than 30 criminal charges for his role in a string of armed robberies of fast food restaurants in the spring of 2006.

"He has already lost everything he ever had," said his attorney, Benjamin Jackson of the public defender's office.

Before his trial and even during it, Mr. Overstreet was offered plea negotiations, said Assistant District Attorney Adam W. King.

The robberies were the acts of immature high school kids, Mr. Jackson said. They thought it was a good way to get money for night school and the prom.

Mr. Overstreet was a star linebacker for Lucy C. Laney High School. He had a football scholarship offer from the University of Florida, Mr. Jackson said.

What struck Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. during the trial was the fear of the robbed employees, he told Mr. Overstreet. One was pregnant; another testified that all she could think of when facing a masked man with a gun was that she would never see her children again.

The judge said he also remembered Mr. Overstreet's attitude. At one point, Mr. Overstreet refused to attend his own trial. He was disrespectful to his attorney and to the court, Judge Brown said.

Two former classmates pleaded guilty and received 15-year prison sentences - Derrick S. Garrett, 21, and Kenneth L. Walker, 20.

Three others are still awaiting trial: Marquise D. Taylor, 19; Timothy Wright Jr., 20; and Reginald M. Rouse, 21.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.