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Local hotel employee earns reward money

Posted on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 11:24 am

A Manchester hotel employee was rewarded for helping the Covington Police Department in capturing two fugitives in a Bonnie and Clyde-type crime spree in 2015.
Representatives from the Georgia police department gave the individual a check via Crimestoppers for $5,000 at the Manchester Police Department on Thursday.
Crimestoppers offers money for tips without tipsters having to give his/her name. The tipster asked to remain anonymous in this case.
Covington Police Department personnel presented the check, provided lunch for the individual and members of the Manchester Police Department.
The murder of a 65-year-old woman took place Nov. 16, 2015, in Covington, Ga. A man and a woman arrived at the Covington Walmart in a stolen vehicle from Virginia. Marsha Johnson, the victim in the case, was loading items she had just purchased at the Walmart, according to a story in The Covington News. The man and woman, Brandon Smith and Stephanie Rodriguez, were in the parking lot looking for their next victim.
Smith approached the victim with a BB pistol and grabbed Johnson’s purse.

When Johnson, 65, would not let go of the purse, Smith drug the victim several parking spaces to where his vehicle was parked. He eventually got the purse away from Johnson and ran over her a number of times.
They were arrested a week later near Manchester.
According to Manchester Police Department Assistant Chief of Police Adam Floied, a hotel employee saw the description of the car and license plate number and reported it to police. They were followed by Manchester Police in the morning while heading north on Highway 24.
The car was followed to near Beech Grove, according to Floied. Area police were alerted and the vehicle with the two fugitives was isolated.
“There were no issues when the car was eventually pulled over,” Floied said.
The couple was interviewed and arrested by Covington Police later in the day.
Rodriguez was sentenced in late November to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to armed robbery and aggravated assault in Johnson’s death, according to The Covington News.
Smith is serving two life sentences plus 20 years after pleading guilty to murder, aggravated assault and kidnapping in Newton County Superior Court last year.
Floied said the due was responsible for a seven-state crime wave.
The judge in the cased called it one of Newton County’s darkest crimes during Rodriguez’ sentencing, according to The Covington News.

See the story in this week’s issue of The Manchester Times.