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Suspect in crash death denied bond

Ntyono Pennie

Ntyono Pennie

CONYERS -- A suspect who investigators say killed a Newton County woman last month while fleeing from an armed robbery will remain in the Rockdale County Jail without bond.

Ntyono Pennie, 21, was arrested Feb. 23 and charged with murder, three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and possession of marijuana less than one ounce.

Pennie's attorney asked for bail to be set at $75,000 during the bond hearing Monday morning. The Rockdale County District Attorney's Office was opposed to bond.

Chief Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation denied bond, saying the likelihood of Pennie returning for trial was "nil."

"Because there is no bond that will ensure his return and this is a murder case, he will remain in the confinement of the Rockdale County Jail," Nation said.

Nation also told attorneys that the murder charge makes the case eligible to be tried as a capital case.

State prosecutors said they had not made the decision as to whether or not they would seek the death penalty. They explained that they were waiting for all the facts surrounding the case to come in before making that decision.

A second suspect in the case remained at-large as of Monday. Once law enforcement works through the investigation of the second suspect, then a decision will be made regarding the death penalty, according to Chief Assistant District Attorney Robert Houman.

An active arrest warrant for murder is out for the other suspect. The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office declined to identify the other suspect because it is "still a highly active investigation," according to RCSO spokeswoman Lt. Myra Pearrell.

The murder charges stemmed from a Feb. 23 incident in which Pennie and another suspect allegedly attempted to elude law enforcement near Flat Shoals Road.

Pennie and another suspect were involved in an armed robbery earlier that day at the Harvest Grove apartment complex in Conyers. According to the RCSO, two men reportedly drew pistols on a group of other men and demanded money. Pennie and the other suspect made away with an estimated $500 in cash, shot a victim in the arm and then fled the scene, the incident report stated.

The victim of the shooting at the apartment complex told responding RCSO deputies that the robbers fled in a black Nissan Maxima traveling toward Salem Road, according to a previous RCSO press release. An RCSO deputy spotted the car on Flat Shoals Road and tried to get tag information. The press release said the driver "immediately accelerated his vehicle and began to elude the deputy." The car ran a red light, dodged several cars in the intersection and eventually crashed into a gray Honda passenger car.

Shirley Akins, 56, of Covington was the driver and only occupant of the Honda. Akins was transported to Rockdale Medical Center, where she later died from her injuries.