Macon – A Macon man was sentenced to life in prison Thursday after Bibb County jurors found him guilty of robbing the Just One More Smoke Shop on Riverside Drive in 2018.
A trial began Tuesday for Benjamin Lanier Statham Jr., 35, in Bibb County Superior Court. Jurors deliberated for about an hour and a half on Thursday before finding him guilty of armed robbery. Statham won’t be eligible for parole until he has served at least 30 years.
Prosecutors Ben Conkling and Jonathan Gordon presented the following evidence during the trial:
A store employee testified a masked man wearing dark clothes and gloves entered the store at about 3 a.m. on July 7, 2018. The masked man pointed a gun at her and demanded money from the cash register. The employee gave the gunman the money and he left. She testified she recognized the gunman’s voice as the voice of Statham, a customer who’d visited the store for an hour at a time at least weekly for about a year.
Another witness, a customer who was in the store at the time of the incident, corroborated the employee’s account of the robbery, as did surveillance video from outside the store.
Speaking after the trial, District Attorney David Cooke said, “Mr. Statham thought he could escape justice by hiding behind a mask. But the jury wasn’t fooled by his attempt to disguise his identity as the perpetrator of this reckless and dangerous crime.”
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Contact: Amy Leigh Womack