Appeals denied for men

The Court of Appeals of Georgia affirmed the convictions Monday of four Augusta men implicated in homicides, including the 1998 death of Sam's Club manager David Holt.

The court combined the appeals filed by Ronald Coleman Jr., Carlston Coleman Jr., Ronnie Overton Jr. and Kendric Dudley, who were convicted in a Richmond County Superior Court trial that spanned weeks in the fall and winter of 2001.

In a 41-page opinion, the appeals court ruled that the two Colemans, who are not related, were fairly tried and convicted of crimes connected with the robbery of the Sam's Club and the abduction of Mr. Holt on Father's Day in 1998.

The four men also were fairly tried and convicted of racketeering, the court ruled. The criminal enterprise included crimes leading up to the July 1997 slayings of Bernard Arroyo and Ryan Singh.

Like Mr. Holt, Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Singh were found dead in the trunk of a burning vehicle. According to evidence at the trial, although the crimes began in Augusta, the victims were killed elsewhere. Mr. Holt died in his burning car in Aiken. Mr. Arroyo and Mr. Singh, who were shot to death, were found in a burning car in Warren County, Ga.

No one has been tried on murder charges in either case.

The two Colemans are serving life sentences for armed robbery, kidnapping, hijacking a motor vehicle and violation of the state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization law.

Mr. Overton and Mr. Dudley are serving 20-year sentences for their RICO convictions.

Two other men -- Jarman L. Harold and Charles D. Winter Jr. -- also were convicted of racketeering, but their convictions were overturned in an earlier appeal.

In a plea deal worked out in December 2007, Mr. Harold and Mr. Winter pleaded guilty to racketeering in exchange for a sentence of seven years in prison followed by 10 years' probation. They have since been released.

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