Life sentence for two in Houston armed robbery, sexual assault

WARNER ROBINS — A Houston County judge sentenced two men to life in prison Thursday afternoon for an armed robbery and sexual assault in Houston County in 2007.

David L. Tolbert Jr., 36, of Macon, and Michael Dewayne Willis, 31, of Roberta, were sentenced by Superior Court Judge Katherine K. Lumsden to life plus 45 years.

A Houston County jury deliberated about two hours before convicting the men of the armed robbery as well as kidnapping with bodily injury, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, aggravated sodomy and possession of firearm during the commission of a crime.

The men severely beat a Bear Branch resident with a gun July 18, 2007, while Willis sexually assaulted a woman at the residence, according to a Houston County District Attorney’s Office news release. Tolbert was also convicted of the sexual assault charges because he helped Willis gain access to the house when the two men forced their way in, Chief Assistant District Attorney Jason Ashford said in a telephone interview.

Tolbert and Willis initiated the armed robbery because of a novelty $10,000 lottery ticket that they thought was real, the release said.

“We’re grateful for the jury’s verdict,” Ashford said in the interview. “This was a horrible crime.