A gang member convicted in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father pleaded guilty to felony murder Friday in a Warner Robins gas station killing.
Tianna Danet Maynard, 33, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole as part of a negotiated plea agreement. She also pleaded guilty to violation of the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
Maynard’s sentence will run at the same time as her 50-year sentence for her part in the North Carolina kidnapping that took place just a few months after the Warner Robins killing.
Monnie Joseph Brabham IV, 32, was shot and killed minutes before noon on Jan. 23, 2014, at the fuel pumps of Murphy USA near a busy super Wal-Mart on Booth Road in Warner Robins.
His silver 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood was stolen and later recovered by police, abandoned in a nearby neighborhood.
Maynard, along with Deondray Darnell Yarn, Michael Montreal Gooden and Clifton James Roberts, were all indicted on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery and violation of the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
The other charges against Maynard were dismissed as part of the plea deal, which included her testimony, if needed, against the co-defendants.
Sentencing is pending for Yarn, who was convicted on all counts Thursday after a jury trial, and for Gooden and Roberts, who struck plea deals also and testified against Yarn. Two others were originally indicted in the killing. Charges were dropped against one, while the other struck a plea deal and pleaded to lesser chargers.
Maynard and the others affiliated themselves with the One Eight Trey gang, a sect of the Bloods gang, authorities said. Brabham was not affiliated with a gang.
Roberts testified at Yarn’s trial that the killing of Brabham was a gang-ordered kidnapping and torture gone wrong. Brabham had driven his friend, LaJerrius Barfield, to Maynard’s home where the other gang members, dispatched from Atlanta, lay in wait.
Assistant District Attorney Greg Winters said that was one of the stories that authorities were told by those involved. The other was that the same high-ranking gang member who ordered the North Carolina kidnapping ordered a hit on Barfield, who had split with the gang.
A tarp had been placed in the bathroom floor of Maynard’s Lee Street home in Warner Robins. But Barfield testified at Yarn’s trial that “something just didn’t feel right” and that they decided not to stop at her home. Instead, he and Brabham drove over to Zaxby’s to get something to eat and then to get gas. Unknown to them, they were followed.
Gooden, armed with a shotgun, and Yarn, armed with a handgun, jumped out of a Chevy Tahoe and ran up behind Brabham as he was pumping gas. Brabham was shot grabbing the handle of Gooden’s shotgun, while Yarn fired at Barfield, according to testimony. Both thought Barfield, who’d fallen to the ground as he ran away, was also killed. Gooden and Yarn fled in Brabham’s car.
In April 2014, the North Carolina prosecutor’s father was kidnapped and held hostage in an Atlanta apartment until he was rescued by FBI agents and Atlanta-area authorities.
During the investigation into that kidnapping, Atlanta authorities contacted Warner Robins police about a tip that some of those involved in kidnapping were also involved in the Warner Robins slaying, Winters said.
Maynard, Gooden and Roberts pleaded guilty in federal court in North Carolina earlier this year for their parts in that kidnapping.
That kidnapping was orchestrated by a high-ranking member of the Eight Trey Blood gang, Kevin Melton, while serving a life sentence for a 2011 murder conviction. Melton, who has not been charged in the Houston County slaying, allegedly was behind the order to get Barfield, Winters said.
Maynard was the second-highest ranking female in the Atlanta gang under the direction of Melton, according to testimony at Yarn’s trial. All of the gang members were promoted after the slaying, according to testimony.