By Linda Looney-Bond
A Clayton County Magistrate Court judge ruled Tuesday that there was probable cause to bind over to Superior Court the case of a husband and wife, and a third family member, who are all accused of robbing a Riverdale bank last week.
Magistrate Judge Bobby Simmons presided over the preliminary hearing of James Hector, 26, Hector's wife, Crystal Bishop, 27, and Terrance Hector, 26, the cousin of James Hector.
Prosecutors argued that, on Dec. 7, James Hector entered the Bank of North Georgia, located at 7384 Ga. Hwy. 85, in Riverdale, wearing a curly wig and glasses, robbed the bank, and fled the scene in a get-away car driven by his wife.
Detective Michael Tarrant, of the Riverdale Police Department, testified that James Hector entered the bank, and handed a note demanding money to a teller. "She handed him the money. She included with that the GPS tracking device," said Tarrant.
He said James Hector then ran out of the bank and fled the scene in a car occupied by Bishop and Terrance Hector. "We began to track the vehicle via satellite," Tarrant testified.
According to a Clayton County Police incident report, the GPS device tracked the vehicle north and southbound on Ga. Hwy. 85, down several side streets, and, ultimately, to an urgent care center, located at 77 Upper Riverdale Road.
Tarrant also testified that James Hector later confessed to the robbery. "He [James Hector] stated that he did rob the Bank of North Georgia, and gave a written admission to it," Tarrant said.
Tarrant then testified that James Hector told police that Bishop and Terrance Hector were not parties to the crime. "He stated that they didn't know anything about what he was doing," Tarrant said on the stand.
However, Tarrant said James Hector apparently changed clothes in the car after fleeing the scene, and threw the clothes out of the car in a bag, which police later found. The bag contained the plaid jacket, wig and note that were allegedly used in the robbery.
"The GPS device stated it [the car] had stopped two minutes, on Meadows [street], and on Meadows Street is where the clothing was discovered," Tarrant said.
Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Boulware argued that all three defendants knew that a robbery was about to take place. "The defendant went into the bank wearing a disguise of a wig, glasses and multi-colored coat," she said. "He runs out of the bank and gets into the car where the disguise and clothing are discarded," she continued.
Judge Simmons agreed. "There is a clear indication that everybody knew what was going on," he said. Simmons said a bond of $25,000 had previously been set for each co-defendant.
Meanwhile, in a separate case, Simmons also bound over to superior court a robbery charge against James Hector, involving the Oct. 19 robbery of a Suntrust Bank in Forest Park.
Forest Park Police Detective Barry Morris took the stand ,Tuesday, in that case. He testified that James Hector also confessed to the Suntrust robbery.
"He said the robbery on the 19th was him. He submitted a written statement indicating he did commit that robbery," Morris said.
"He even provided details of the robbery outside of our conversation, that I had not mentioned," Morris said.
Simmons set James Hector's bond at $50,000 on the robbery charge involving the Suntrust Bank.
Assistant District Attorney Boulware said the three co-defendants are also suspected in other Clayton County bank robberies.
"There's another warrant for Crystal Bishop out of the city of Morrow, and then, Investigator Tarrant is expected to take out additional warrants against Ms. Bishop and James Hector," she said.