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Jury: Men guilty of assault, not robbery

CONYERS -- A Rockdale Superior Court jury returned a not guilty verdict Wednesday afternoon in an armed robbery case stemming from an incident in which two men were accused of robbing an elderly man at gunpoint last summer. The two defendants were convicted on other charges in connection with the incident.

Donrico Marquez Clark, 30, of Covington and Anwar Akeem Flournoy, 26, of Oxford were accused of putting a gun to the victim, pushing him in a ditch and taking his mail. The incident occurred in July 2009 at the victim's residence on Ga. Highway 138, south of the Weatherstone subdivision.

Clark and Flournoy were charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Clark was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Although the jury determined there was no robbery in the case, Clark and Flournoy were found guilty of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

The now-60-year-old victim told authorities and testified Tuesday that he went to check his mail when two black men put a revolver to his stomach, searched through his pockets and pushed him into a nearby ditch when he resisted the attack. The suspects reportedly then fled into a nearby wooded area, according to witnesses who also testified Tuesday. The witnesses said they heard a gunshot in the woods. However, law enforcement never found a gun when they found Clark and Flournoy in the woods and arrested the pair shortly after the attack.

Attorneys gave their closing statements Wednesday morning. Lack of a gun, lack of stolen items and lack of a motive were the main talking points for Rockdale County Public Defender Daniel Partain, who represented both Clark and Flournoy.

Partain pointed to inaccuracies and inconsistencies in witnesses' statements, including the victim who identified Clark on the day of the crime as having the handgun, then identified Flournoy on Tuesday in court as having the gun.

"There is doubt in this case, ladies and gentlemen," Partain said.

The defense argued that the men, who were traveling to Conyers to visit family after playing basketball, were almost involved in an accident when a car carrying the victim and another Hispanic man cut them off in traffic. Partain said his clients were experiencing "road rage" when they got out the vehicle and got in a physical altercation with the victim.

The other car had pulled over and dropped the victim off at his driveway. The victim was checking his mail when the car carrying the defendants drove by, according to the defense.

Rockdale County Assistant District Attorney Paul Stalcup thought it was questionable that Flournoy would testify he was playing basketball for hours when the defendant was arrested on a summer day wearing baggy jeans and a black T-shirt. In addition to explaining how recovery of a weapon is not needed for an armed robbery charge, Stalcup also pointed to the defendants going through the victim's pockets during the attack.

"That is not road rage. That is an attempt to look for goods," Stalcup told the jury.

The jury deliberated for more than two hours, coming out at one point to clarify with the court whether an aggravated assault charge requires the presence of a weapon.

Rockdale County Chief Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation heard the two-day trial and went immediately into a sentencing hearing after the jury's verdict.

The sentence was not available by press time.