Men arrested in Perry home invasion had prior convictions

bpurser@macon.comJanuary 23, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Two men accused of a January home invasion in which a mother and her two teenage children were held at gunpoint had prior criminal convictions, records show.

Benjamin Dontarius Thomas, 22, of Perry, and Roderick Demar Lawson, 23, of Warner Robins, were arrested Friday in connection with the home invasion, said Perry police Capt. Heath Dykes.

Thomas and Lawson are being held without bond at the Houston County jail on charges of burglary, armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping and possession of a firearm during a crime in relation to the home invasion, Dykes said. Thomas also is being held on a probation violation out of Superior Court, while Lawson also is being held on a misdemeanor bail jumping charge as well as a probation violation out of Superior Court, jail records show.

Lawson was released from a state prison Dec. 21, 2010, after serving a little more than three months in relation to a 2009 aggravated battery, 2008 theft by taking and a 2007 theft by receiving stolen property in Houston County, show online records of the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Thomas had a 2011 conviction in Houston County for possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm or knife during a crime in which he received five years probation and first offender status, online records of the Houston County District Attorney’s Office show. First offender status is when person’s criminal record is cleared if all probation conditions are successfully met. Thomas also was sentenced to serve 12 months in the county jail after pleading guilty in 2009 to burglary and also received first offender status, records show.

Thomas and Lawson are accused of robbing a Houston County schoolteacher and her children, ages 13 and 18, at gunpoint Jan. 9 in their Perry home. The men were arrested last week at an apartment at Kings Villas Apartments on Kings Chapel Road in Perry. The apartment is the home of Lawson’s girlfriend, who is also Thomas’ cousin, Dykes said. The victim’s home can be seen from the apartment, where some of the items stolen in the home invasion were found, Dykes said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Perry police detective Tom Daly at (478) 988-2821.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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