Rincon man receives life sentence for June armed robberies in Warner Robins

Rincon man receives life sentence for June armed robberies in Warner Robins

bpurser@macon.comOctober 30, 2012 

PERRY -- A 37-year-old Rincon man is expected to spend at least 30 years in prison before he is eligible for parole for three armed robberies in Warner Robins in June.

James Ray Ussery was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole earlier this month by Superior Court Judge Edward D. Lukemire. Ussery was also sentenced to an additional five years for possession of a firearm during a crime, court records show.

Also, Ussery has two pending armed robbery charges in Peach County. Kelli Leigh Proctor, 35, of Centerville, was charged with party to the crime of armed robbery in the Peach County incidents. She’s the accused lookout and getaway driver.

Ussery was sentenced Oct. 18 after pleading guilty to three counts of armed robbery and one count of possession of a firearm during a crime.

Robert Gurd, an assistant public defender who represented Ussery, said Ussery was advised of the potential sentence but wanted to plead guilty.

It was a “spiritual” decision for Ussery, who said he wanted to be “right with God,” Gurd said.

June 23, Ussery drove up to two women visiting a grave site at Parkway Memorial Gardens Cemetery at 720 Carl Vinson Parkway, pointed a pistol at them and threatened to shoot them unless they handed over their purses, a district attorney’s office news release stated. He drove off with their money and credit cards.

June 29, Ussery wrapped bandages around his face before coming into the Dollar General at 2451 Watson Blvd., the release stated. He pointed a gun at the clerk and demanded money. He fled with $946, according to the indictment.

Ussery was sentenced as a recidivist and faced life in prison without parole, Gurd said. But because the charges were merged into one bill of accusation, he was able to be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, Gurd said. The cemetery and Dollar General incidents were originally indicted separately.

Ussery had prior convictions of theft by taking $2,532.86 from a Hardee’s and of possession of cocaine, court records show. In 2003, he received a probated sentence of five years to serve 60 days in supervised worked release under first-offender status. First-offender status allows for a person’s record to be cleared if the recipient successfully completes all terms of the sentence and probation.

But in 2006, Ussery was arrested in El Paso, Texas, for cocaine possession where he had absconded in violation of his probation, court records show. He’d also failed to pay probation fines, to enter court-mandated drug treatment and to do community service, court records show.

The two cases pending against Ussery and Proctor in Peach County are related to the June 25 armed robbery of a Dollar General at 15 Peach Road in Byron and the June 28 armed robbery at the Waffle House at 12021 Watson Blvd. Although the Waffle House has a Warner Robins mailing address, it’s located in Peach County, where it’s expected to be prosecuted, said Peach County sheriff’s Sgt. John Edwards.

After being sentenced in Houston County, Ussery was taken to the Peach County jail but released back to the Houston County jail on an own recognizance bond, Gurd said. Clif Woody, an assistant district attorney for Peach County, said that allowed for Ussery to be moved to a state prison more quickly to serve his life sentence until Peach County is ready to prosecute him. Ussery was released Thursday to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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