DECATUR – Two Decatur men were released from jail after police discovered evidence that showed that they did not commit the armed robbery they were charged with committing.
Andre D. Miller, and Courtney Vaughn, both 21, were arraigned Jan. 31 on Class X felony charges for allegedly robbing a woman of her car at gunpoint, while promising her they would reward her with some marijuana.
They were released from jail Feb. 3, and the charges were dismissed against them.
Two teens, both classified as juveniles because they were younger than 18, were also arrested in connection with the case. They were also released from custody and their charges dismissed.
Haley B. Dennison, 29, and James R. Young, 33, who allegedly filed a false police report that implicated the four males, were arrested Feb. 12 and booked into the jail on preliminary charges of disorderly conduct.
Police found video surveillance footage that showed the couple involved in a drug transaction with several of the alleged robbers, apparently on cordial terms, after reporting the robbery.
After their bonds were set at $20,000, Dennison and Young each posted $2,000 cash bail Wednesday and were released from custody.
On Thursday, Dennison and Young were each charged in Macon County Circuit Court with one felony count of disorderly conduct. They are due in court March 14 for their arraignments.
Dennison told officers on Jan. 5 that four males – Miller, Vaughn and two juveniles – “robbed her at gunpoint of her vehicle, a white 2005 Buick LeSabre,” said a probable cause affidavit by Decatur patrol officer Brandon Rolfs.
Dennison and Young, “who were both registered owners of the vehicle, advised they wished to report the vehicle stolen,” Rolfs wrote in his statement.
When the Buick was located 20 days later, about 1:20 a.m. Jan. 25, Vaughn was found inside it. Miller and one of the juveniles then approached officers and reported that the “vehicle was in the process of being purchased.”
“Haley would later arrive on the scene to recover her vehicle and advised officers Courtney, Andre and (the juvenile on the scene) were involved in the robbery where her vehicle was taken.”
The afternoon of Jan. 25, Dennison called 911 to report that two males were in her yard “yelling threats,” including the other juvenile accused of robbery, who was a brother of the one who approached officers when the Buick was located.
When officers arrived at the Dennison residence, the juvenile told police there was evidence that the Buick had exchanged hands through a transaction, not a robbery. He said his brother had text messages showing that he and Young had been making payment arrangements for the Buick.
The teen said that there had been a meeting outside Tobacco Shack, 343 W. Grand Ave., “to pay (Dennison and Young) money for their vehicle.”
Surveillance video found at the retail store showed Young and Dennison on the parking lot about 6 p.m. Jan. 23, along with one of the juveniles and two other males.
As Young and Dennison interact with the three males, neither appear to be in distress and the conversation appears to be cordial, Rolfs wrote in his statement. A white Buick LeSabre, matching the 2005 body style, enters the lot, and the three males enter the vehicle. Young converses with one of the Buick's occupants through an open rear window.
This occurred about two hours after Dennison and Young “made the initial stolen vehicle report in which they would later implicate (a juvenile) along with the others as the suspects who robbed Haley at gunpoint.”
During a police interview Feb. 7, Young confirmed that the vehicle in the Jan. 23 video was the alleged stolen vehicle and that he and Dennison were conversing “with the alleged suspects and making a hand-to-hand drug transaction.”