By Ed Brock
A conspiracy over money from a scheme to fraudulently obtain tax refunds led to a botched robbery that left a 2-year-old boy dead, according to testimony heard Thursday in Clayton County Magistrate Court.
Clayton County Police Detective Stefan Schindler testified at a preliminary hearing for 18-year-old Torrin Desmond Reese that Reese told investigators about his role in the Feb. 10 home invasion in which young Xavier Miranda was killed.
Schindler said Reese and his co-defendants, Shakeila Danuaralle Hampton, 33, and Michael Anthony Hendrix, 32, of Atlanta, along with 20-year-old Kearndric David Smith and 38-year-old Freddie Lamar Floyd, conspired to take money from what he described as a tax fraud scheme from Xavier's parents, Chimere Calloway and William Miranda, Jr., both 22.
"What occurred was there was a disagreement over how much money was to be owed for the help in getting this (tax) refund," Schindler said.
Prior to the Feb. 10 robbery attempt, Hendrix, Smith and Reese met at Floyd's apartment where Hendrix recruited Reese to do the robbery. On the day of the robbery, Reese and Smith were waiting in a car near Miranda's apartment near Forest Park as Hendrix took Calloway to cash the refund check.
At one point Hampton, also waiting at the apartment complex, got into the car with Smith and Reese and bragged about setting up the robbery.
"He also said she told him go in there and shoot somebody," Schindler said. "But she didn't specify whom."
During the home invasion, Schindler testified, Reese went in after Hendrix called on a Nextel to say he had just dropped off Calloway with the money. By the time Reese entered the house Calloway had already left again with a friend.
Reese confronted Miranda, demanding money and "powder," or cocaine. Reese told police that Hendrix had told him to also demand cocaine because Miranda was known to deal from the apartment.
Miranda denied that claim.
"That's part of their plan to get out of the situation," Miranda said. "There ain't no such thing as drugs being in this house."
Also, Miranda denied knowledge of any tax scheme as well.
"As far as I know they (Hampton and another person) were supposed to be claiming their taxes for them," Miranda said.
Reese admitted to police that he did pick up one of three children in the apartment and put his gun to that child's head while demanding the money. Schindler said that Reese claimed that, while Miranda was begging for his son's life, another relative walked in and distracted him and he dropped the child.
When he turned again to look at Miranda, who was upstairs, all he saw was a hand holding a gun around the corner of a wall, and then Miranda began firing at him. Reese fired back and Xavier was caught in the crossfire.
Miranda told police that the robber shot first.
Reese then claimed that he fired back only with the intention of getting away and did not intend to hit anybody. An autopsy determined that Xavier was killed by a .38 caliber bullet fired from a .357 handgun, the kind of gun Reese was firing. Miranda was firing a .45 caliber handgun.
After the robbery Reese got in the car with Smith and they returned to the apartment Smith shared with Floyd, who is his stepfather. They told Floyd what happened and Floyd disposed of the gun, Schindler said. That gun has not been recovered.
Schindler also testified that Calloway had not gone shopping, but had left with a friend who was angry that she had given Hampton and Hendrix the money they had demanded, $500 for Calloway and $500 for another check Hampton had obtained for Calloway's mother.
"They got into the vehicle and went to try to find Hendrix and Hampton who had just left," Schindler said.
Schindler said Hampton was the person who recruited people for the tax scam that used fraudulent W-2 forms to file for refunds.
"It was all a scheme," Schindler said. "Most of these people don't even work."
Sometimes Hampton would use her own children's Social Security numbers to file for deductions for other people. Hampton would take the W-2s to a third woman who works with the Internal Revenue Service. That woman has refused to talk to police about the case, Schindler said.
Hendrix and Hampton are also charged with giving false information to police. Judge Daphne Walker bound all five cases over to a grand jury for indictment consideration.