In a case in which police said one robber was killed and another shot, charges against Galen Lawayne Allen Jr. of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, and tampering with evidence were bound to the Grand Jury on Monday. General Sessions Court Judge Lila Statom ruled that there was probable cause after listening to the testimony of robbery victim Jaden Archer.
Allen is accused of trying to rob Archer with the help of co-perpetrator Calvin Ward. However, Ward was shot and killed during the attack.
In court Monday morning, Archer said he had planned to buy four Microsoft tablets from a man for $1,000 and they had agreed to make the exchange in the Bi-Lo parking lot on Highway 58. Archer said he arrived and waited in his car for the other man.
He said it was not long before he saw a van drive up beside him, two men in the front. A teen carrying a black backpack walked to Archer’s car and sat in the front seat. He said this was Calvin Ward. Instead of pulling out the tablets, Archer said the man pulled out a semi-automatic gun.
At this moment, Archer said he had to decide what to do. Having had prior military training, he attempted to get the gun away. He said during their struggle, Allen also came over to help Ward.
Archer, a lawful gun owner, managed to reach his own gun and fired a shot, hitting Ward. He said Allen tried to pull him out of the car and they continued to struggle. Archer said he fired again at some point.
Allen fled the scene in the van but later went to Erlanger Hospital with a gunshot wound on his shoulder.
Archer said he immediately called 911 and police arrived almost instantaneously. Police said he explained the situation and fully cooperated.
Detective Lucas Fuller said he arrived at the scene approximately 35 minutes after the 911 call. He told the court Archer’s story matched the evidence found and that his story had not changed.
Defense Attorney Brian Pierce questioned the attempted first-degree murder charge against his client; he said there was not premeditation.
However, Prosecutor Dave Denny disagreed. He said Allen going back to the van to get a weapon constituted premeditation.
Prosecutor Denny also pointed out to the court that in several states, Allen could also be charged with felony murder because of Ward’s death. He said in Tennessee, a statute from 1982 says “any murder committed during the course of another felony opens you up to felony murder analysis.”
Judge Statom said that would be for a jury to decide.
The total bail was set at $475,000.