A Cobb County jury has convicted two men charged in the October 2016 shooting death of a man over a $5 costume necklace in the parking lot of a Marietta restaurant.
Florida residents Dylan Marquis Ledbetter, 25, and Demarious Kevauh Greene, 23, were convicted Thursday on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery and possession of a firearm. The charges stem from the Oct. 7, 2016, altercation outside Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen on Windy Hill Road. Ledbetter was also found guilty of aggravated assault on an officer. The men are awaiting sentencing.
Anthony and Cynthia Welch were at Pappadeaux restaurant for a birthday dinner when a man tried to snatch her costume necklace. Anthony, 48, was fatally shot with a .380-caliber firearm while protecting his wife, and Cynthia was wounded, the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office said. The couple had been together 25 years.
While she was on the ground bleeding from a gunshot wound, one of the men ripped the necklace from her neck before they fled the scene in a car, the DA’s office said.
Cobb police received a break in the case when four days later, two armed men robbed a man of a chain necklace at the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta in Woodstock. Woodstock police teamed up with their Cobb County counterparts, suspecting the cases were related.
Since the Woodstock robbery occurred during the day, police were able to obtain better surveillance images of the suspects and their vehicle.
A be-on-the-lookout alert was issued for the car with Florida tags. On Oct. 15, 2016, the car matching the description was seen at a Red Roof Inn hotel in Marietta. The car left the motel, with Ledbetter driving, Greene in the front passenger seat and another man in the back.
According to prosecutors, Ledbetter pulled into a Shell gas station, but when officers approached, he put the car in gear and tried to leave. The car struck a Cobb police vehicle and another car. Greene ran from the car and into a nearby motel. Ledbetter ran towards a plain-clothes officer, who shot Ledbetter three times. The third man remained in the car and surrendered to police.
A police canine searched the nearby hotel where Greene fled and found a chain necklace belonging to the victim in the Woodstock robbery. The car was searched and a .380 handgun, which was reported stolen out of Broward County, Florida, was found. A Georgia Bureau of Investigation ballistics expert found the gun matched bullets removed from Cobb victims Anthony and Cynthia Welch.
Cobb Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans referred to the murder as “cold-blooded” and “senseless.”
“It didn’t have to happen,” he said in his closing arguments. “Cynthia and Anthony Welch did not deserve this.”
Greene and Ledbetter were convicted on charges stemming from the Woodstock case and received life sentences. Ledbetter also faces attempted murder charges for an August 2016 attack in Broward County, Florida.
Cobb District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Kim Isaza said both men face up to life in prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be held at 2:30 p.m. May 30 in front of Cobb County Superior Court Judge Ann Harris.
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