The Duncan Banner

April 7, 2013

Big bonds set for group of armed robbery suspects

Megan Bristow
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Three suspects are being held in jail with a $5 million bond for their suspected roles in three alleged armed robberies of Duncan convenience stores while another suspect is being held with a $2.5 million bond for his alleged role in one of the armed robberies.

Appearing in court Friday were, Tre Babineaux, 17, Dakota Smith, 18, Peyton Thad Graham, 20, and Quincy J. Sahtaren Barnes, 19, all of Duncan.

Babineaux is being charged as an adult under the Youthful Offender Act.

He, Graham and Smith, have each been charged with three counts of robbery in the first degree and are each being held on a $5 million bond while Barnes has been charged with one count of robbery in the first degree and is being held on the lesser bond.

According to affidavits provided by Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks, the crimes happened when Babineaux allegedly told his friend Smith he needed money to pay the “light bill.” Babineaux claims Smith suggested robbing the Chisholm Corner located at U.S. Highway 81 and Plato Road. The affidavits were filed by Duncan Police Department’s Lieutenant of Criminal Investigations Joe Shoemake and Detective John Byers.

On March 27, the team is suspected to have executed this plan,  and the additional robberies on March 31, of Stripes at 12th Street and Bois d’ Arc Ave. and Love’s Convenience Store at Second Street and Main Street. Barnes was charged with only one count of robbery in the first degree.

Patrol officers were initially able to identify Smith, the suspected gunman at Chisholm Corner, through review of audio and video surveillance. DPD Lt. Chris Ray was also able to identify Babineaux by the backpack he wore in the store. Ray had seen Babineaux allegedly wearing the same backpack a week before near the convenience store.

During the robbery at Stripes, two men entered the store. A left-handed gunman robbed the clerk at gunpoint while another suspect took beer from the cooler. Detectives said a .40 caliber Wolf brand cartridge was ejected from the gun when the suspect worked the slide of the gun. According to the affidavits, Babineaux is believed to be the gunman at Stripes and is suspected to have been accompanied by his brother, Barnes.

Babineaux’s shoe print also allegedly matched the print of the suspect who jumped the counter at Love’s just 25 minutes later. While jumping the counter to take money from the register, the suspect left footprints on the counter that were matched to his shoes when he was brought in for interviews. Shoemake and Byers indicated in the affidavits that Graham admitted to holding the gun during this incident.

Graham is also suspected to have been waiting in a getaway car at Chisholm Corner and Stripes while Smith was believed to have been used as a lookout at the last two robberies.

When police brought Babineaux in for an interview after finding clothes and a gun that matched those seen in surveillance video, Shoemake said in his affidavit that he told Babineaux he had enough evidence to charge him. Shoemake asked Officer Julio Alvarez to cuff Babineaux and transport him to the jail.

While being escorted outside to a patrol car, Babineaux broke away from Alvarez and ran east from the police department before tripping on the railroad tracks. Shoemake said he told Lt. Ray the young man was running to see his pregnant girlfriend, who he said was expected to give birth soon.

The girlfriend was brought to the Stephens County Jail where she encouraged Babineaux to tell the truth, noted the affidavit. The information provided led to interviews with Graham, who provided information on Barnes’ involvement. Other witnesses were also questioned.

 The four are scheduled to appear for a summary of facts hearing on May 10 and for preliminary hearing conference on May 29.