Officers, physician testify in gun store robbery trial
Jurors on Wednesday heard from law enforcement officers who responded to and investigated the 2012 robbery attempt of a North Augusta gun store, during which one defendant was shot and killed.
Franklin Robinson and Eddie Stewart are on trial for charges of grand larceny and first-degree burglary. They, along with a third man, allegedly stole a van from a North Augusta church and drove it into the Guns and Ammo Gunsmith on Edgefield Road at about 4 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2012.
Store owner Stephen Bayazes Jr., who lives in an apartment behind the store, opened fire on the suspects, injuring two of them and killing a third suspect, K'Raven Goodwin.
Deputy Brandon Egan of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office was one of the first officers on the scene at the gun store.
He told jurors how he assisted paramedics by doing chest compressions on Goodwin, who had a gunshot wound to the chest, in the ambulance on the way to Georgia Regents Medical Center. Goodwin was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Robinson and Stewart allegedly fled in the van with guns from the store and went to the Waffle House on Martintown Road, just off Exit 1 on I-20. Sgt. Jeremy Frank said he and a North Augusta Public Safety officer were the first to respond to the restaurant. They conducted a felony traffic stop on the two people in the van and got them out.
Frank said the suspects had visible gunshot injuries.
“I don't know how to describe it, but his elbow was missing,” Frank said of the suspect sitting behind the wheel of the van.
Dr. Anthony Florschutz, the emergency room physician who tended to Robinson, also testified. He said Robinson had fractures to his forearm and upper arm bone from gunshots. He also had a gunshot wound to the right thigh.
Late on Wednesday, prosecutors and defense attorneys discussed with Circuit Court Judge Doyet “Jack” Early whether or not the gun store should be considered a business or a dwelling. The building is divided into three parts: the gun store, a large garage area next to the gun store separated by “freezer flaps” and living quarters on the other side of the garage.
Prosecutors said the building is considered a dwelling because Bayazes and his wife lived, slept and ate in an apartment attached to the store; however, defense attorneys said the only place the defendants allegedly broke into was the gun store itself. Early said he would make a decision on that today.
The state rested on Wednesday afternoon. The court is expected to learn today whether or not Robinson and Stewart will take the stand in their own defense.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard.