Links sought between bank holdup, other crimes

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AIKEN --- With the identities of two captured bank holdup suspects confirmed, Aiken County police said Thursday that they are checking for possible connections to other area bank robberies.

"There are a few that could be related. But it's just a possibility," Aiken County sheriff's Sgt. Dave Myers said, noting similarities of a few bank robberies in the county. One was in Langley, according to Sgt. Myers.

The suspects identified in Wednesday's holdup of First Citizens Bank on Atomic Road are Phillip Perry Paul, 26, of the 600 block of Silver Bluff Road in Aiken, and Randolph Wilson, 22, of Elgin Court, Beech Island. Both face charges of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and armed robbery.

A third suspect, Jelani Edwards, 30, who was fatally shot by a Jackson Police Department officer after the robbery, has a criminal connection to the Miami area, FBI spokeswoman Denise Paiste confirmed Thursday.

The FBI has been brought in to investigate, as has the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

According to a Florida Department of Corrections inmate query Web site, Mr. Edwards once lived in Miami and has offenses dating back to 1999 on such charges as resisting an officer with violence, robbery with a deadly weapon, carjacking, aggravated battery and grand theft. According to the inmate query, he was released from prison in February 2007. The site also said Mr. Edwards had eight tattoos, including one on his arm with the words "Miami Sowlja."

An autopsy Thursday determined he died of a single gunshot wound to the chest, Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said, and the wound was consistent with the officer's account of the shooting.

The shootout came after a car chase with police, which ended in a crash near the Kimberly-Clark plant. Police said all three men jumped from the vehicle, with one being arrested immediately and another -- identified as Mr. Edwards -- exchanging gunfire with a Jackson officer.

The third suspect fled the crash site but was later found and arrested at a home on Williams Way.

Reach Preston Sparks at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.


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