Jeremy Jerome Kendrick appeared to choke back tears Friday when he learned his alleged accomplice in the slayings of two convenience store clerks gave a full confession to police.
The 17-year-old, clad in an orange jumpsuit before a Bibb County Magistrate Court judge, looked down and shook his head as Bibb County sheriff’s investigator Coleman Lewis gave a detailed account of 16-year-old Arie Calloway’s confession.
The teens are accused of killing Alpeshkumar Prajapati during the Aug. 14 robbery of the Gulf Food Mart on Napier Avenue. The teens also are accused of killing Waqar Ali during a stickup at Market Place #5 at the corner of Vineville and Holt avenues a week later on Aug. 22.
A confidential informant tipped off police about the teens’ alleged involvement in the two killings, Lewis said. The sheriff’s office sent out a news release Aug. 31 announcing the teens had been arrested that morning in a house off Rocky Creek Road in South Macon.
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However, investigator Lewis said Calloway “came in after the arrest of Kendrick and gave a full confession.”
In short, Calloway told investigators that he and Kendrick robbed the Gulf Mart on Napier Avenue, and Calloway shot 36-year-old Prajapati.
“They took the clerk behind the counter, got $800 in cash (and) told the clerk to open the safe,” Lewis said. “When he couldn’t open the safe, that is when they decided they had to shoot him.”
After the slaying, Calloway went to Westside High School in time for his third period class, which was “well after the robbery,” Lewis said.
Kendrick didn’t show up for class at Central High School that day, but “after the robbery, he purchased some shoes — some very expensive tennis shoes,” Lewis said.
Third man charged with murder
The informant who led police to the teens also told police to talk with a witness who goes by the street name “Po Pimp,” Lewis said.
In an interview, Po Pimp told investigators that he was riding in a Nissan driven by 28-year-old Vernon Bernard Ashley Jr. along with Kendrick and a man who fit the description of Calloway.
Po Pimp said he heard Ashley planning the robbery, so he asked to be dropped off at a house on Duncan Avenue because “he was not down with committing a robbery,” Lewis said.
Ashley told investigators that the man riding in the back seat, who fit Calloway’s description, “made him uncomfortable,” Lewis said.
Ashley, who was arrested two days before the teens, admitted that he parked at “the spot” on Lawton Avenue but said the teen fitting Calloway’s description walked up to Market Place #5 while Kendrick stayed put.
Ashley was on probation after serving 11 years in prison for a 2006 carjacking. He is charged with armed robbery and murder in addition to violating probation and willful obstruction of law enforcement.
Lewis said investigators found a picture on Kendrick’s phone that was taken 20 minutes before the robbery. It shows Kendrick and Calloway riding in a Nissan, wearing the same clothes that the robbers on surveillance footage wore.
Calloway told investigators a different account of what happened at Market Place #5.
According to Lewis, Calloway said he, Kendrick and Ashley “rode around the block” and saw the clerk was closing early.”
The teens then approached 21-year-old Ali, and Kendrick told him to “give it up,” Lewis said.
Calloway said he saw Ali put something in the trunk of his car and asked Ali what it was.
“At that point, Kendrick tried to get the keys from Ali. Ali started fighting,” Lewis said.
Calloway said he ran off down Holt Avenue, heard the gunshot and hid behind a church until police were gone, according to Lewis.
The teens made off with $1,700. They split it and gave some to Ashley, Lewis said.