Felony murder charges added to suspects in shooting over hair weaves

CONYERS — The four suspects arrested in connection with a shooting during the sale of hair weaves earlier this month have now been charged with felony murder.

The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office added the murder charges against Brandon Jay Lamothe, 20, of 987 Locust Drive N.E., Conyers; James Wansley Edwards, 21, of 5231 Traci Drive, Stone Mountain; Christina Menzies, 19, of 60 Oakwood Lane, Covington; and Jaquan House, 20, of 210 Odyssey Turn in Conyers.

The armed robbery charges against the suspects have been amended to criminal attempt to commit armed robbery, authorities said Friday.

Lamothe, Edwards, Menzies and House are believed to be involved in an attempted armed robbery of hair weaves and the subsequent fatal shooting on Dec. 11 of 21-year-old Jennifer Menzies of Conyers.

Authorities believe that Christina Menzies arranged to meet a male and a female in the parking lot of the swimming pool area of Fountain Crest subdivision on Ga. Highway 138/Ga. Highway 20 South to purchase some hair weaves.

The victims reported to investigators they began speaking with Menzies when a group of people — including Jennifer Menzies, who is believed to be Christina Menzies’ sister — came from the bushes toward the victims’ truck, one of them pointing a handgun, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The victims exchanged gunfire with the suspects, and, as a result, Jennifer Menzies was shot more than once.

Christina Menzies reportedly left the scene in a vehicle with Jennifer Menzies and was heading toward Rockdale Medical Center on Ga. Highway 138 when an RCSO deputy stopped the car. The deputy called for an ambulance to take Jennifer Menzies to Rockdale Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead.

Christina Menzies was arrested and originally charged with being a party to the crime of armed robbery and making false statements. As a result of a lookout that night, deputies captured House near the scene and originally charged him with armed robbery.

The Sheriff’s Office continued to search for two additional suspects, later identified as Lamothe and Edwards, and had enlisted the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service Southeast Regional Task Force.

U.S. Marshals tracked down Lamothe to a home at 1129 River Tusk Trail on Dec. 13.

After an apparent attempt to elude authorities, investigators found both Lamothe and Edwards hiding in the upstairs of the house, according to the incident report.

Investigators noticed at that time that Edwards’ left leg was wrapped in a rag and a brace. He claimed he was injured when he was struck by a car the day before, according to the incident report.

Lamothe and Edwards were arrested. Lamothe was initially charged with probation violation and party to a crime of armed robbery, and Edwards was originally charged with armed robbery.