Raleigh man found guilty in 2008 convenience store murder
Posted May 19, 2014
Updated May 20, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — A Wake County jury handed up a split verdict Monday morning, convicting a Raleigh man of killing a woman during an armed robbery six years ago but not in the fatal shooting two months earlier of a man during a violent home invasion.
The seven men and five women deliberated for more than 23 hours over five days before finding Armond Devega, 32, guilty in the April 10, 2008, shooting death of Stephanie Powell Anderson, 39, but not guilty in the shooting death of Anthony Dwayne Scarborough, 32.
Devega did not react as Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner read the verdicts. Anderson's mother and sister cried, saying later they were relieved by the jury's decision.
"I was happy. I clapped and thanked God. She was my rock," Lachanda Powell said of her sister, Anderson, whom Devega ambushed as she arrived for the opening shift at a Wilco-Hess convenience store on Trawick Road.
Surveillance video recorded Anderson, a mother of three, pleading for her life before Devega shot her when she couldn't open a safe.
Scarborough's mother sobbed and had to leave the courtroom upon hearing the verdict in her son's case.
Prosecutors argued that Devega and three other men forced their way into Scarborough's apartment on Feb. 13, 2008, bound him with duct tape and shot him in the head because Devega thought Scarborough set him up to be robbed during a poker game.
"He killed my son. He killed my only child, and they say 'Not guilty.' It's not fair," Jackie Scarborough said, adding she couldn't understand why the Devega was found guilty of one crime but not the other.
"But I know he's going to spend the rest of his life in prison," she said. "It's not the answer I was looking for, but I just have to accept it."
A life sentence is the minimum Devega will receive, his attorney, Jim Glover said Monday afternoon to jurors who must now decide whether Devega should face the death penalty for Anderson's death.
"The question is not, 'Will he be punished? You've already decided that," Glover said. "The question is, 'Will he die when God says he should die?' or 'Should he die at another time when man says he should die?'"
Glover said Devega has "substantial deficits" in the frontal lobe of his brain that involve affect decision-making, self-control and appreciating the consequences of his actions.
Sources of such deficits, Glover said, could come from head injuries, childhood trauma, or it could be an effect of being raised at the hands of his father – a Vietnam War veteran who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder at a time in the 1970s, when having the condition was viewed as being cowardly.
Devega's older brother, Don Devega Jr., testified that he and his two brothers endured verbal abuse, such as name-calling, and beatings, from their father.
"We never knew what kind of mood he would be in," Don Devega said. "We didn’t want to be hit or beat. We just kind of moved out of his way."
Devega convicted of seven other charges
Armond Devega was also convicted Monday on a charge of attempted first-degree murder for shooting Modesta Fernandez-Lucas three times during a Sept. 10, 2008, robbery at a check-cashing service on Wake Forest Road.
He was also found guilty of six of eight counts of robbery with a firearm relating to a spree of crimes from January 2008 until his arrest in October 2008.
Prosecutors said in closing arguments last week that Devega – a gambler who struggled financially – acted alone in all of but one of the crimes and that investigators found bullets fired from a gun belonging to him at several crime scenes.
Victims also pinpointed Devega as the robber after his arrest, the state said, and both his sister-in-law and ex-girlfriend both identified him in surveillance images circulating in the media around the time of his arrest.
But defense attorneys questioned the reliability of that ex-girlfriend, saying that she "disgruntled" after catching Devega cheating on her and influenced by a $25,000 reward in the case.
They also said police were hasty in linking Devega – who rejected a plea deal last year – to the crimes and that there was no DNA or fingerprints linking him to any of the cases.
A look at the crimes and verdicts
- Jan. 23 robbery of Subway store, 10450 Durant Road – guilty of robbery with a firearm
- Feb. 1 robbery of Wilco-Hess, 7413 Louisburg Road – guilty of robbery with a firearm
- Feb. 13 robbery of Wilco-Hess, 7413 Louisburg Road – guilty of robbery with a firearm
- Feb. 13 murder of Anthony Scarborough at 508 Tartan Circle – not guilty of first-degree murder
- April 10 robbery of Wilco-Hess, 1741 Trawick Road – guilty of robbery with a firearm
- April 10 murder of Stephanie Powell Anderson – guilty of first-degree murder (under felony murder rule)
- May 7 robbery of Subway, 5410 Six Forks Road – guilty of robbery with a firearm
- May 24 robbery of Capital Food Mart, 2929 Capital Blvd. – not guilty of robbery with a firearm
- June 5 robbery of Bojangles', 10610 Durant Road – not guilty of robbery with a firearm
- Sept. 10 robbery of Mexico Lindo, 4010 Wake Forest Road – guilty of robbery with a firearm
- Sept. 10 attempted murder of Modesta Fernandez-Lucas – guilty of attempted first-degree murder