Internet cafe cases unfold in Seminole [Orlando Sentinel]
(Orlando Sentinel (FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 24--SANFORD -- Two trials that have a great deal in common are underway in side-by-side courtrooms on the fifth floor of the Seminole County criminal courthouse this week.
In Courtroom 5A, a 34-year-old Orlando man, Shawn Emmanuel "Fat Boy" Richardson, is on trial for murder, accused of robbing an Internet cafe during a shootout that left a suspect dead.
Next door, an attorney for the chain of Internet cafes Richardson is accused of trying to rob -- Allied Veterans of the World -- is in the second week of his trial on charges of racketeering, money laundering and running a string of illegal casinos.
Richardson, the robbery suspect, earlier spent 13 years in prison for robbing a Seminole County bank when he was 18.
The defendant next door, 50-year-old Kelly Mathis, is a prosperous, respected Jacksonville lawyer who bills clients $395 an hour.
Richardson is charged with second-degree murder, although, he killed no one. According to his arrest report, Richardson and his girlfriend went to the Allied Veterans storefront on State Road 436 near Altamonte Springs on April 19, 2011, a few hours before the robbery and left.
A short time later, Richardson returned with two accomplices, both wearing masks and carrying guns. They walked into the storefront and ordered its employees and 30 customers to the floor, according to the report.
The gunmen confronted an armed guard and fired at him, according to the report. The guard returned fire, hitting one of the suspects, Gary L. Bryant, 21, who died at a hospital a short time later.
Before the three suspects sped away, however, Richardson fired into the building three times, according to the report.
After a 70-mph car chase, Orange County deputies found Bryant lying in the street, and witnesses reported seeing him being pulled from a car, hearing a thump and a voice saying, "We can't leave him here," according to the report.
Bryant had been shot in the back and was pronounced dead at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
His death is the one that prompted prosecutors to charge Richardson with murder. Under Florida's felony murder law, any homicide that happens during a felony -- even if the defendant is not the killer -- makes him guilty of murder.
Attorneys and Circuit Judge John Galluzzo began picking a jury in Richardson's case Monday.
Richardson is charged with second-degree murder, attempted armed robbery, shooting into a building and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
His trial is expected to last through early next week.
Another suspect in the case, D'Angelo Pugh, 24, pleaded no contest to lesser charges -- manslaughter, attempted armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon -- on Jan. 23 in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence.
Mathis' trial is expected to last several more weeks.
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