Trial set for men charged with armed robbery

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 27, 2000

VIDALIA, La. — Four men accused of robbing a Vidalia restaurant and Ferriday furniture store with machine guns in April are set to stand trial Aug. 14.

The trial is scheduled for Seventh Judicial District Court, with Judge Leo Boothe presiding. Antonio&160;Hawkins, 21, of 500 Sycamore St. in Vidalia, pleaded not guilty on May 24 to four counts of robbery in connection with the April 4 robbery of Ezy Pay Furniture in Ferriday.

Twins Tyrone Banks and Tony Banks, 23, both of 637 Edward Drive in Memphis, Tenn., and Stanton E. Easley, 41, of 2406 25th St. in Nashville, pleaded not guilty to a total of 23 counts in connection with that robbery and the April 3 robbery of Vidalia’s Pizza Hut.

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Those charges included armed robbery, flight from an officer, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and, in the case of Easley, aggravated battery for allegedly hitting a Pizza Hut employee in the head with a weapon.

Police said the robbers were armed with a Tek-9 automatic and a Mack-10 semiautomatic with 20 to 25 rounds each.

The men charged with the crime were captured by sheriff’s deputies shortly after the April 4 Ezy Pay robbery, when their car skidded off rain-slick U.S. 84 and into a field near Vidalia.

Officers later recovered about $5,000 in cash the suspects dropped in the field.