Raleigh man could face death if convicted in 2008 shooting deaths
Posted May 12
Updated May 13
Raleigh, N.C. — Police rushed to judgment in charging a Raleigh man with robbery and murder in a series of crimes in 2008, defense attorneys told a Wake County jury Monday during daylong closing arguments of their client's 11-week capital murder trial.
Armond Devega, 32, faces nearly a dozen charges in the 10-month crime spree, including two counts of first-degree murder, in the deaths of 32-year-old Anthony Dwayne Scarborough and of gas station manager Stephanie Powell Anderson.
He also faces an attempted first-degree murder charge in the shooting of an employee at a cash-checking business and eight charges of robbery in connection with other violent armed robberies at convenience stores and fast-food restaurants in Raleigh.
Jurors are expected to begin deliberating Tuesday morning after being instructed on the law. If convicted on the murder charges, Devega could face the death penalty.
Defense attorney Jim Glover said Devega is not responsible for the crimes and that there's no DNA or fingerprints in the cases. In his closing argument, he said that the state was hasty in linking his client to the crimes based on ballistics alone.
"There's not a shred of evidence connecting Armond Devega to these crimes, not a shred," Glover said. "There's nothing."
Wake County prosecutors, however, said investigators recovered from several crime scenes bullets that were fired from Devega's gun. Victim descriptions of the masked robber also matched Devega, and his family members and ex-girlfriend also identified him in surveillance images that police released to the media after determining the crimes were connected.
"His motive is purely for money," Wake County Assistant District Attorney Matt Lively said during part of the state's closing arguments.
Devega had lost money gambling, he was running short on cash and his bank account was going into overdraft, prosecutors said, when the robberies started in January 2008 and when he robbed and killed Anderson early on the morning of April 10, 2008.
The 39-year-old Anderson had been ambushed as she arrived at about 5 a.m. at the Wilco-Hess convenience store on Trawick Road.
Surveillance video captured Anderson pleading for her life before she was killed.
"'Please, Jesus,' she begs," Assistant District Attorney Becky Holt recalled Anderson saying in the video.
"As she lies on the floor, having been shot – bleeding the last bit of life – he stands over her and says, 'Where are the keys? Which key is it?’"
Scarborough's shooting death, unlike the other crimes, was personal, Holt said, because Devega wanted revenge after believing his friend set him up to be robbed of more than $7,000 during a poker game.
Holt said that on Feb. 13, 2008, Devega and three other people entered Scarborough's Tartan Circle apartment demanding drugs and money and ransacking the apartment before binding him with duct tape, gagging him and then shooting him twice, including once in the head at point-blank range.
"The defendant in this case was driven by greed or driven by the thrill of either gambling, robbery or killing – or all three," Holt said. "Stephanie Anderson's life was not as important to Armond Devega as that money was. Anthony Scarborough's life was not as important as that money was or the feeling that he had been wronged by his friend."
Holt reminded jurors to focus on the details of the case that matter and to use reason and common sense to reach guilty verdicts.
"A verdict means to speak the truth, and when you go through this case and analyze it in light of your reason and common sense, you will arrive at the truth of this case," she said.