published Friday, March 21st, 2014

Fred's store shooter faces charges in Georgia

The Fort Payne, Ala., man who netted a 25-year sentence in the shootings of two Fred's store employees in Rainsville now faces charges in another Fred's hold-up in Cedartown, Ga.

Kelly Jack Mayo, 47, could be transferred soon to Polk County, Ga., where he'll face charges including armed robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment, officials said.

The Aug. 24, 2012, shootings in Rainsville left one store employee paralyzed and another dependent on a cane.

Mayo pleaded guilty March 6 to two counts of attempted murder, said Bob Johnston, chief deputy district attorney in 9th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Michael O'Dell's office in Fort Payne.

Other charges against Mayo in the DeKalb County case were dismissed, Johnston said. But he's being held pending a decision whether he'll be transferred directly to Polk County, Ga., or to state prison to await transfer to Georgia, Johnston said.

Prosecutors consulted with victims Matt Whitt and Josh Nance about resolving the case, Johnston said. Whitt stayed in the courtroom all day March 6 while Nance, paralyzed from the waist down and a wheelchair user, stayed in touch by phone, Johnston said.

In Georgia, Mayo is accused of breaking into the Cedartown Fred's store on Oct. 4, 2012, and holding a gun to a female employee's head, according to Cedartown police Detective Steve Rush.

One worker was left bound in the front of the store while the second was tied up in the back. That woman was able to free herself enough to call 911, but Mayo discovered her and forced her into his car, Rush said.

"Mayo attempted to leave in his car, but he was confronted outside. He got [the store clerk] in the car and started rolling," Rush said. An officer rammed his patrol car into Mayo's vehicle to stop it and the suspect was arrested, he said.

Mayo was charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of false imprisonment, Georgia officials said.

Jim Beck, Polk County District Attorney's Office spokesman, said prosecutors there are ready to move toward trial.

"We're still working out the details of transfer," Beck said. "Our office is in touch with the sheriff's office in Alabama."

In the Rainsville robbery and shooting, Mayo brandished a .45-caliber pistol at Whitt and then shot both men in the back. A cashier uninjured in the incident was able to call for help.

Authorities said Mayo was a former Fred's store employee who had lost his job after the company found merchandise missing from the store where he worked in Rome, Ga.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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