Tahlequah Daily Press

October 17, 2013

Two charged with store robbery

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Two people have been formally charged for allegedly working together to rob a Caney Ridge store in September.

James G. Kelley, 23, and 32-year-old Melanie K. Davis, who is described by authorities as Kelley’s girlfriend, are each charged with first-degree robbery.

Prosecutors allege Kelley held a store employee at gunpoint and stole more than $768 in cash. Davis acted as a getaway driver, according to court documents.

The two were jailed in September after investigators with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office responded to Caney Ridge. An employee at the store said a man entered at about 6:30 a.m. Sept. 18, wielded a gun and demanded money. The suspect was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, face mask and gloves.

Surveillance footage showed the suspect getting out of a dark-colored Chrysler PT Cruiser that was missing a hubcap.

Deputy Dexter Scott believed Davis and Kelley frequently drove a similar vehicle. Investigators found the couple and began to question them over the robbery.

Davis first claimed Kelley had taken the vehicle on the morning of the robbery, and said she stayed at home to care for an ill child. But Kelley separately told investigators the two had been together that morning and dropped off the children at a family member’s home.

Both initially denied knowledge of the robbery, but when Davis was confronted about the alternate story presented by Kelley, she allegedly confessed that Kelley asked her to drive to Caney Ridge and told her he was going to rob the store.

Davis allegedly admitted she dropped Kelley off at the store, then circled around until she picked up Kelley after the robbery.

Kelley told investigators the gun he used was a toy, and said he had thrown it away.

Authorities went to the suspects’ home and found a BB gun between a mattress and box springs in the master bedroom. Investigators said the gun looked similar to a Springfield-brand XD model, semi-automatic handgun.

Kelley and Davis were each given a bond of $35,000 and both pleaded not guilty.

First-degree robbery is punishable by no less than 10 years in prison.