Couple charged after robbery, beating

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By Lisa King

A Waddy couple has been charged in connection with robbing an Hispanic man after beating him in the head with a wrench, according to Shelbyville Police.

Carl L. Barnes, 29, and Johna Hoskins, 33, both of Waddy Road, are charged with first-degree robbery in an incident that happened in mid-May.

Shelbyville Detective Stacy Bruce said the pair worked together to rob the victim, Mario Chavez, of Shelbyville. He added that allegedly, Hoskins, using the promise of sex, enticed the man into the shadow of a building where Barnes waited to attack him.

"Under the guise of a prostitution date, they lured a man to the side of 908 Main Street, and allegedly, Carl Barnes beat him in the head with a wrench, knocked him to the ground, and robbed him of his wallet which contained about $215," Bruce said.

The pair were charged in connection with the crime on Saturday, but the incident actually happened May 18.

Bruce said it took a while to bring charges against the couple because of the ongoing investigation, which involves the testimony of an eyewitness, who was initially a suspect.

He added that it all started when Chavez approached the witness, who lives near him, to ask her for a prostitution date.

"She said she didn't do that, but she knew someone that would," Bruce said. "She led the little fellow over there and she introduced him to Johna who took him around to the side of the building, where the boyfriend was waiting in the dark and pounced out and knocked his brains out with a big wrench."

Bruce said that since the witness, Melanie Noble, has been cooperating with the police, her status as a suspect has changed.

"She was a witness/suspect, but since she told the truth, she's going to be a witness."

According to the police report, Noble said she saw Hoskins and Barnes wipe blood off the wrench and hide it. Bruce said the weapon has been recovered. He added that Chavez, who is a legal resident, is lucky to be alive.

"He came close (to dying); he was in bad shape," Bruce said. "He wants very much to prosecute."

At the time the charges were brought against the boyfriend/girlfriend duo, they were already in jail after being arrested July 31 for shoplifting at NAPA Auto Parts. In that incident, they took hand tools valued at $282, Bruce said, adding that they had shoplifted from the store before.

"It's been an ongoing thing at NAPA, and the total of that was $1,791," he said.

The pair are lodged at the Shelby County Detention Center under a $25,000 cash bond each on the robbery charges, and an additional $5,000 each for the July 31 arrest.