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One pepper spray robbery suspect released due to identity fraud

RCSO: Real suspect used half-brother’s ID

CONYERS — One of the suspects arrested this week in Henry County who was accused of robbing convenience stores in Rockdale and Henry counties using pepper spray has been released from jail as a result of being an apparent victim of identity fraud.

According to Investigator Michael Camp with the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, 27-year-old Cordero Woody turned himself in to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office late Wednesday night. The Henry County Police Department had issued warrants against Woody and Johnny Jay Collins, 36, of 20 Village Place in Stockbridge, for two armed robberies in Henry County on Dec. 26. The two were also suspected of committing armed robberies in early January in Rockdale County.

In both Rockdale County robberies and one Henry County robbery, two men robbed clerks of cash after spraying them in the face with a pepper spray. One of the suspects wielded an ax during the second Henry County robbery, according to authorities.

Rockdale County and Henry County police investigators have been working together to locate the suspects, Camp said. An RCSO investigator developed the names of the two suspects, and on Monday, contacted Henry County.

RCSO and Henry County Police Department investigators executed a search warrant Wednesday for Collins at his Stockbridge residence, where he was found and arrested.

Later in the day, Camp said Woody turned himself in to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office. Both men were charged with two counts of armed robbery.

However, police released Woody from the Henry County Jail and dropped the charges against him on Friday after it was determined that the actual suspect is 23-year-old Cortney McDowell of 107 Grove Springs Road in Locust Grove.

McDowell is Woody’s half-brother and has been using his identity whenever confronted by authorities, Camp said.

McDowell has been arrested by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and has been charged with armed robbery, Camp said.

Camp said Rockdale County had not issued warrants against the two suspects prior to learning of the identity fraud. As of Friday morning, however, warrants have been issued against Collins and McDowell.

Once they are released from Henry County, the two will face two counts of armed robbery charges in Rockdale County. Camp said additional charges against McDowell for using his half-brother’s identity may be forthcoming in Henry County as well.