• 84°

Federal trial continued on local crime suspects

A federal trial set for Monday on three men suspected of robbery, rape and kidnapping at a Swindall Park home last year has been continued to November.

Ronald Demarkus Thomas, his brother Kendrick Katrell Thomas and Anthony Perrie Turner, were set to face trial on federal charges of conspiracy, carjacking and the use of firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence in U.S. District Court in Montgomery Monday.

The trial has been continued to Nov. 8 at the request of Ronald Thomas’ defense attorney, seeking more time for research, court officials said.

All three suspects pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing on March 9 to the crimes.

The charges are related to a Troy incident in October 2009 where the three were said to have broken into a trailer on Swindall Road and rape, kidnap, rob, burglarize and sodomize the residents.

If convicted of the federal charges, the three Barbour County men, face a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for conspiracy, 15 years for carjacking and a mandatory minimum of seven years with up to life in prison for the firearms charges.

A statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said any sentence a defendant receives for a firearm charge must be served consecutively to any sentence received for conspiracy or carjacking, as was previously reported in The Messenger.

This would mean if one of the defendants is convicted of a 10 year sentence for a weapons charge and a five year charge for conspiracy, those would have to be served for 15 years in a row.

But, at the local level, the suspects still face another total of 48 charges in the incident.

It was reported around 5 a.m. Oct. 26, 2009, the three suspects entered the victims’ home armed with firearms. Two females and four males, all adults, resided at the home.

All suspects face six charges of robbery first degree, six charges of kidnapping first degree, one count of burglary first degree and one count of theft first degree.

In addition, Kendrick Thomas is charged with one count of rape first degree; Ronald Thomas is charged with rape and sodomy first degree; and Turner faces two counts of rape first degree and one count of sodomy first degree.

The three have been transferred to federal prison from the Pike County Jail. According to the case files in the Pike County Courthouse, the three suspects are set to appear before a Grand Jury locally in October.

At the time the incidents took place, both Ronald Thomas and Turner were out on probation or parole from crimes committed in Barbour County. Ronald Thomas had been serving sentences for two counts of robbery first degree in March 2004 and Turner of robbery first degree, discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling and burglary third degree from August 2004.

Kendrick Thomas had pled to misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct, harassment, criminal mischief and domestic violence all from Barbour County.