Joey Lebron Kilgore, 35, of 514 Cherokee Drive, Chatsworth, was convicted Wednesday by a Murray County jury for the offenses of armed robbery and aggravated assault.
The crimes were committed on Jan. 3, 2013, at the Kangaroo gas station and convenience store in Spring Place. Kilgore entered the store between 3 and 3:30 a.m. armed with a large knife and wearing a black hoodie jacket and mask made from a toboggan with a slit cut for an eyehole. He used the knife to force the clerk to give him money from the cash register and left the store. As soon as she was able to do so, the clerk activated the store’s panic button, locked the doors and called 911.
Deputies with the Murray County Sheriff’s Office arrived within minutes, apparently quicker than Kilgore expected, forcing him to abandon his vehicle and flee on foot. His vehicle was recovered and the knife and other items related to the robbery were found inside. The mask was found near the car and sent to the crime lab where DNA was recovered and matched to Kilgore.
The lead investigator on the case, Detective Andy Dill with the sheriff’s office, recovered video of the robbery from the Kangaroo store and spoke to a member of Kilgore’s family who confirmed that he had been driving the car early in the evening and had returned a Redbox movie at the Ingles grocery store in Chatsworth. Dill recovered an additional video recording from Ingles which showed Kilgore returning the movie and wearing the same jacket and toboggan he was wearing in the robbery although he did not have the toboggan pulled down over his face at Ingles.
The state’s case was presented by Chief Assistant District Attorney Scott Minter who called 12 witnesses and tendered 42 pieces of evidence starting on Monday and concluding on Tuesday. The defendant was represented by Betsy Flack and Amanda McCoy, both of the Public Defender’s Office. The defense called three witnesses, including Larry Eugene Martin, a friend of Kilgore’s who claimed that Kilgore was at his home at the time of the robbery. The defense, however, did not offer an explanation for why Kilgore’s car was at the crime scene. Kilgore never reported the car stolen prior to his arrest in Tennessee on Jan. 6, nor did he ever claim that anyone else was driving the car with his permission. Kilgore did not take the stand to testify in his own defense.
The trial was presided over by Superior Court Judge David Blevins who ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set sentencing for Nov. 20 at 9 a.m. Kilgore faces life in prison on the armed robbery charge based on his prior criminal history plus up to 20 years on aggravated assault. Kilgore’s prior record includes felony convictions for aggravated assault in 2001 and distribution of methamphetamine in federal court in 2004. Kilgore spent almost six years in federal prison on the drug charge and returned for an additional two years on a probation revocation in 2010. He had only been out of prison a few months when he committed this robbery.