Valdosta Daily Times

November 9, 2012

Three sentenced to life in Berrien case

Quinten Plummer
The Valdosta Daily Times

BERRIEN — Roughly a year after beating a man outside a rural residence and torching his lifeless body in a stolen truck, according to court officials, three people have been found guilty on all counts and face lifetimes behind bars.

District Attorney Cathy Helms of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit said the trio faced eight charges related to the murder of 32-year-old Carlos Robinson and the concealment of his death.

The charges were malice murder (Count One), felony murder (Count Two), aggravated assault (Count Three), aggravated assault (Count Four), theft by receiving stolen property (Count Five, arson (Count Six), concealing the death of another (Count Seven) and tampering with evidence (Count Eight).

Len Davis, who was facing his fourth felony trial, was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole and roughly 50 years to run consecutively to the life sentenced, according to Helms.

Tavaris Johnson was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole and a subsequent ten-year term of incarceration, according to Helms. He was convicted on all counts expect the fourth, the second count of aggravated assault.

Brandy Stone was convicted on Count Four and received a sentence of two to ten years imprisonment , according to Helms. Stone has also been banished from the Alapaha District and Helms said Stone still faces charges for deceiving Lowndes County investigators.

“Behavior like this will not be tolerated,” said Helms. “Carlos Robinson, though not perfect, was a human being, a father and a husband. He didn't deserve to die in the manner he did and I think the judge sentenced the offenders appropriately.”

Davis and Johnson had known Robinson for approximately ten years and the three men fostered a turbulent relationship, according to Helms. They were reportedly close, they brawled at times, they coveted the same women and they were all forever changed on the night of June 21, 2011.

After getting Robinson drunk, Davis headed over to Johnson's house and the two reportedly worked out a plan to assault Robinson, said Helms. The two transported Robinson to the residence of Davis' girlfriend, who has signed a plea agreement.

Davis and Johnson beat Robinson for several hours outside of the secluded Berrien County residence, said Helms who described the cross

examination of Davis and explained why there was more than one charge of aggravated assault.

“Lynn testified that they took the beating too far and admitted to hitting Robinson with a hand-tool several times,” said Helms. “Johnson said that Davis tried to cut off Robinson's penis because it was bigger than his own.”

Stone and Davis' girlfriend cleaned up the bloody mess and then Johnson and Davis took the two women to work, said Helms. The two men returned to the residence and loaded Robinson's blanketed body into the bed of a stolen truck for transport, said Helms.

Johnson and Davis transported Robinson's body to an even more secluded area and then torched the truck with Robinson's body inside.

“There was another individual who was forced into this case by Davis and Johnson,” said Helms. “This person immediately notified law enforcement of the situation because she knew what they did was wrong. Without her assistance we wouldn't have been able to bring these guys to justice.”

The trial ran from Monday to Wednesday, but the jury requested time on Thursday to deliberate each of the case’s eight counts. Judge Dane Perkins presided over the trial and District Attorney Cathy Helms prosecuted it.

“Thank you to the investigators from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, Valdosta Police Department and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office,” said Helms. “They did a phenomenal job investigating this case.”