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Defendant gets 35 years in prison for armed robbery charges

A Fairburn man convicted of charges stemming from two armed robberies in Fayette County last November was sentenced to serve 35 years in prison by Superior Court Judge Fletcher Sams.

Sedrick Whatley, 20, was convicted of two counts of armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, one count each of kidnapping and burglary, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and one count of financial transaction card theft.

The charges were the result of the Nov. 29, 2009 armed robbery of the Coleman’s Grocery convenience store on Ga. Highway 92 north and also the armed robbery of a Fayetteville man in the driveway of his Rocky Creek Court home the day after the Coleman’s holdup.

Two co-defendants in the case, Kevin Thomas Wygant and Kiiya Wygant, both of Fairburn, are slated to be tried at a later date.

Shariff Mohammed, a clerk from Coleman’s Grocery, testified Tuesday that two masked men approached him after he closed the store. One of them was armed with a silver handgun and they both forced him back into the Coleman’s Grocery on Ga. Highway 92 north to open the cash register before taking scratch-off lottery tickets and locking him in the office, Mohammed said.

“I was very, very scared,” Mohammed testified.

In his opening statement to the jury, Assistant District Attorney Warren Sellers identified the defendant, Whatley as one of the gunman, noting that he had been caught on surveillance video at two Fairburn convenience stores trying to cash in on lottery tickets that were stolen from the store.

Two search warrants executed in connection with the case turned up evidence from both incidents, Sellers said. Among those were a silver handgun, clothing that was worn during the Coleman’s robbery, scratch-off lottery tickets from the Coleman’s robbery and items from the Rocky Creek Court robbery including the victim's wallet, bank cards, driver’s license and social security cards, Sellers said.

Defense attorney Tom Cook told the jury it would find evidence to convict his defendant on some of the charges, but the reason his client chose to seek a trial was because the district attorney’s office “over charged” Whatley by charging him with nine different offenses.

Cook said Whatley certainly “made a mistake” by participating in the events of both nights. But he also owned up to the events in a confession to police after he was arrested, Cook noted.

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