Duo charged in chase, robberies, kidnapping linked to Georgia killing

Published 7:53 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Two Georgia residents currently being held in the Warren County Jail on multiple charges after their arrest following a high-speed chase Monday night are now considered the prime suspects in a murder.

Sharae Dominique Threadgill, 21, of Columbus, Georgia, and Jalen Sean Benton, 18, of Ellerslie, Georgia, are suspected of a Sunday killing in Columbus, Georgia.

The string of crimes stretched across three states, beginning in Columbus, Georgia early Sunday and ending in Vicksburg late Monday, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace told reporters Tuesday.

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The pair were captured after carjacking a mother and daughter and shooting at deputies chasing the carjacked SUV, officials said.

Pace said that one of the two hostages, forced to drive, slammed on the brakes, with both hostages jumping out.

Pace said Threadgill then took over the wheel, with Benton firing more shots. Pace said deputies shot out one of the SUV’s tires and the vehicle ran out of gas, finally ending the chase.

“These are some dangerous people,” Pace said. “I firmly believe the hostage driver made a lifesaving/life preserving decision when she chose to end the period where she was driving.”

During an initial court appearance Tuesday, Warren County Court Judge Marcie Southerland refused to set a bond for the pair.

Benton is charged with two counts of simple assault on a police officer, armed car jacking, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of possession of a stolen firearm.

Threadgill is charged with armed carjacking, two counts of kidnapping, felony fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer and two counts of possession of a stolen firearm.The two are likely to face numerous charges elsewhere.

Began in Georgia

Officials in Columbus, Georgia, say they believe Threadgill and Benton tried to rob 30-year-old Phillip Whitaker, who was found dead in a truck at an apartment around 2 a.m. Sunday. Columbus police believe he was shot in a failed armed robbery attempt at a separate apartment complex.

Police in Demopolis, Alabama, said Benton jumped through a drive-thru window at a Burger King with a pistol in each hand and stole two cash register drawers, with Threadgill acting as a getaway driver Monday evening. Less than an hour later, the two tried to rob a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop in Meridian, more than 50 miles away, officials said. There, they again entered through the drive-thru window, but Meridian police said the suspects were foiled when a delivery driver arrived.

The two repeated the drive-thru window robbery plan at a McDonald’s in Brandon, just east of Jackson, authorities said. By then, Mississippi officials were watching for the couple and Sheriff’s deputy Dustin Keyes took a position on I-20 near Bovina. At about 10 p.m., Keyes saw a car matching the description of the vehicle in the bulletin drive by at a high rate of speed.

Keyes followed the car and attempted to stop it at the U.S. 61 North exit on I-20. The car pulled into a parking lot and the pair got out of the car and ran off on foot.

The duo then carjacked a Chevy Tahoe at a nearby Sonic Drive-In, speeding north on U.S. 61 with the carjacking victims being held hostage and one forced to drive at gunpoint.

At Drummond and Bowmar Avenue, Pace said, the hostage slammed on the brakes and she and the other hostage jumped from the SUV.

The chase continued to Pearl Street, where a deputy was able to shoot out a tire. The vehicle stopped just north of Chickasaw Road on North Washington.

Benton and Threadgill got out of the car and were taken into custody without incident.

The Associated Press contributed to this article