Prosecutor: Raleigh man shot victims execution-style during robberies
Posted March 24
Raleigh, N.C. — Stephanie Powell Anderson finished out the last minutes of her life pleading for her killer to spare her during an early-morning robbery at a Raleigh convenience store nearly six years ago.
But Assistant District Attorney Matt Lively told a Wake County jury Monday that Armond Devega, instead, shot the 39-year-old in the chest after giving her the "impossible task" of opening a time-lock safe.
"Stephanie Anderson spent the final moments of her life on April 10, 2008, on her knees, saying 'please Jesus,' and begging Armond Devega not to kill her," Lively said during opening statements in Devega's capital murder trial.
Devega ambushed her from behind, the prosecutor said, as she opened the Wilco-Hess store on Trawick Road at around 5 a.m.
Security video shows Devega bending over Anderson – as she lay screaming and dying on the floor after he shot her – insisting, again, that she open the safe, Lively added.
Devega, 32, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder and nine counts of robbery in connection with Powell's death and a series of other violent armed robberies at convenience stores and fast-food restaurants around Raleigh from January 2008 until his arrest in October 2008.
If convicted, Devega could face the death penalty.
The girlfriend of Devega's other alleged murder victim – 32-year-old Anthony Dwayne Scarborough – found him on Feb. 13, 2008 outside his Tartan Circle apartment with duct tape over his eyes and mouth and his hands bound with an electrical cord.
"(He had been) shot execution-style twice – once in the back and once in the back of the head," Lively said.
Modesta Fernandez-Lucas, a clerk at Mexico Lindo – a check-cashing business on Wake Forest Road – survived after being shot three times during a robbery on Sept. 10, 2008.
In all three cases, Lively said, bullets recovered from each crime scene was fired from Devega's gun. Witness descriptions of the masked gunman in the robberies also matched Devega, Lively said.
Investigators also found clothes similar to ones worn in the robberies at Devega's home, and they learned that he also missed work as an electrician's helper on the day of each crime. Police also found Internet searches on his computer for news stories about the cases.
But defense attorney Phil Lane told jurors Devega is not responsible for the crimes and that there's no DNA or fingerprints in the cases.
"You're not going to see any physical evidence that connects Armond Devega to any of these crimes," he said. "What's missing from this case will be very important."
"Armond Devega sits here before you today wearing a cloak more precious than a king's robe," Lane added. "Armond Devega sits here today with the presumption of innocence."
Devega's trial is expected to last several more weeks. Jury selection in the case lasted four weeks.