Pair gets 38 years for Hibbett’s clerk robbery

Published 12:21 am Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Circuit Judge Lex Short sentenced two Montgomery-area men to a total of 38 years for a “spur of the moment robbery” they committed in Andalusia Dec. 30, 2011.

The defendants, Bobby Jermain Tillis, 33, of Montgomery, and Jerome Edwards, 30, of Prattville, pleaded guilty to theft of property I and kidnapping II.

According to Star-News archives, members of the Andalusia Police Department were called to Hibbett’s, then located in Westgate Plaza, at 9:15 on a Friday night. Two employees had exited the building with the night deposit. One of the employees – who did not have the deposit – was approached by two suspects who demanded the woman give them the deposit and her car keys.

The young woman was forced into her car at gunpoint with a weapon believed to be a .45 caliber semiautomatic. The suspects drove to the back of Westgate Plaza, and debated what to do with the woman, including placing her in the trunk. Instead, they left her behind Westgate Plaza and took her car.

Law enforcement officers from throughout the county pursued the vehicles, and later the suspects, who bailed out of the car at Lloyd Mill Road and Pigeon Creek Road. The suspects then fled on foot, according to newspaper archives, and K9 units were called to assist in the search.

As law enforcement officer pursued the men, a Pigeon Creek resident shot at one of the suspects, one of whom was hit with birdshot.

After daylight, a local resident who was deer hunting located one of the suspects. City and county officers responded to the scene, took Edwards into custody, and learned the identity of the two other suspects involved.

U.S. Marshals arrested Tillis in Montgomery on Jan. 17 of that year.

A Covington County Grand Jury indicted the two men, whose cases were set for trial this week.

Judge Charles “Lex” Short sentenced Tillis to a 20 year prison sentence and Edwards to an 18 year prison sentence. Tillis was represented by his attorney, Benton Persons. Edwards was represented by his attorney, Bart Boothe.

Merrell thanked the group of law enforcement agencies that worked closely in sync on this case. He also commended the victim for her ability to remain calm and collected and for her quick thinking in a very stressful situation.