People who work tirelessly to abolish the death penalty in America have to feel absolutely deflated when they read cases like these: According to media reports, two Hurricane Katrina survivors plotted and executed the robbery and shooting of a Georgia man in order to steal the rims from his car.
Two southern Mississippi men, then teenagers, fled the Gulf region and landed in Clayton County, Ga., a southern suburb of Atlanta, after Hurricane Katrina. It was there that Joseph Jerome Dedeaux II admitted in court that he began to mastermind the robbery and shooting of a Jonesboro teen for his car rims in 2006, though he denied that he was the shooter.
Dedeaux, 21, from Gulfport, Miss., pleaded guilty Sept. 26 to aggravated assault for conspiring to commit a violent crime involving a deadly weapon in Superior Court. He faces 15 of 20 years in state prison, Clayton Chief Assistant District Attorney Erman Tanjuatco told the media. The alleged shooter, Dominic Trent Stacey, 22, is still being held without bond in the Clayton County Jail pending his trial. The last trial was halted after Dedeaux tried to contact a juror through Facebook.
Dedeaux said in an affidavit that he engineered the plot with Stacey to rob Andrew Todd Gibby, 19, of the wheel rims from his 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. In November 2006, Dedeaux and Stacey waited behind a Publix supermarket in Lovejoy, Ga., to buy weed from Gibby. It was during the transaction that they demanded Gibby’s rims and subsequent shots were fired into the car. According to police reports, Gibby was shot several times in the neck and head with a 9MM handgun and careened over the edge of an embankment and sank into a retention pond, where he died.
Daniel Thomas Smith, then 18, was a passenger in Gibby’s car at the time of robbery. He also suffered a gunshot wound, but survived.
Shocking cases such as this only strengthen the resolve of death penalty supporters to keep capital punishment alive in America. Even those who do not support the death penalty probably support a sentence where men of this mentality never walk the streets again.
Prosecutors have not announced whether they will seek the death penalty against Stacy, the alleged shooter.