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Woman recalls robbery, kidnapping for jury

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Calmly and clearly, Bridgette McLemore told jurors how she was robbed and kidnapped, a year ago.

"I was outside the backside of the office, smoking a cigarette," said McLemore, the mother of two, who worked as assistant manager at an extended-stay motel in Stockbridge. "[Alfonso Mason] said he was going to have to rob me. Honestly, I didn't believe him. I said, 'You have got to be kidding me.'"

Mason is standing trial on charges of armed robbery, kidnapping, car-jacking, and he is charged with murdering 49-year-old Cynthia Hyman, who worked at the Suburban Lodge on Davidson Parkway, stabbing her five times on March 8, 2007.

He allegedly lived at the motel for a year before holding-up McLemore with a black revolver, taking almost $2,000 from the motel's cash drawer and stealing her 2000 Pontiac Sunbird.

Wearing a gray suit and gold-rimmed glasses, the 57-year-old former bank executive watched on Tuesday as McLemore recounted how it happened.

"I saw Mr. Alfonso Mason walking on the second floor," the woman said. "He said he had to check out. I said, 'Are you sure?' and he said, 'Yes.' I said, 'What are you going to do with your stuff?' and he said, 'I don't know.'"

McLemore testified she'd helped him pay his rent before, lending him $50, and offered to try to find him help this time. She recalled asking him if he'd checked in with local churches known for helping people in financial need.

"No," Mason reportedly said. "I didn't call them. They can't do anything for me."

And then he had the gun, McLemore said, and he told her he was going to rob her. McLemore said he forced her into the parking lot and into her car. He told her to start the car and drive away. "He said, 'I'm not going to kill you,'" she recalled. "I said, 'Where are we going?' He said, 'I don't know.'"

Mason allegedly turned around, after the question, returned to the motel, forced McLemore out of the car, and then drove away a second time.

Speaking to the jury, McLemore said the whole thing kind of surprised her. "I never thought I'd be robbed," she said. "No one expects to be robbed and kidnapped, even though you're in the capacity to be robbed."

McLemore wasn't so calm the first time she told the story, Clayton County Police Department Detective Michael Medious testified. The first officer at the scene a year ago, he told the jury that when he met McLemore, she was shaking.

"She was thankful to be alive," Medious said. "Her hands were visibly trembling. She just couldn't focus to write a statement [right then], which is understandable. She had been through a highly emotional situation."

The trial is set to continue Wednesday at 9 a.m., with a video tape allegedly showing Mason's confession to the crimes.