Facing trial: Two accused in armed robberies involving Marquette students
MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Two charged in connection with series of armed robberies and a shooting incident involving Marquette University students will stand trial.
20-year-old Johnny Sellers of Milwaukee, and 20-year-old David Thompson of Milwaukee were in court on Wednesday, May 21st for their preliminary hearings.
Each pleaded not guilty to the charges against them — and in each case, the court determined there is enough evidence for the men to stand trial.
Police say four Marquette University students were robbed at gunpoint in separate incidents — and one of them was shot.
Sellers faces two charges — two counts of armed robbery (threat of force) as party to a crime — both felony charges.
Thompson faces four charges — including armed robbery (threat of force) — repeater, first degree recklessly endangering safety (use of a dangerous weapon) — repeater, possession of a firearm by a felon (repeater), and attempted armed robbery (use of force) — repeater.
All four charges against Thompson are felonies.
Police spoke with two armed robbery victims on April 22nd, just after 11:30 p.m.
The first victim told police he was walking from a convenience store at North 17th Street and West Wells Street to his apartment when he noticed two men by the door of the building on West Wisconsin Avenue.
Police say the victim told them he went back to his phone to finish a text message, and when he looked up and saw that a suspect had two silver revolver-style handguns pointed at him.
Police say the victim told police he was asked to turn around and look down — before the suspect asked for the victim’s wallet and backpack.
Police say the suspects got away with the victim’s wallet, cell phone and backpack in this case.
Police say when Johnny Sellers was apprehended at his sister’s residence on West Wisconsin Ave. on May 2nd, police recovered a laptop belonging to this victim.
The criminal complaint against Sellers and Thompson says a second victim was targeted on this very same night — April 22nd.
Police say the victim was walking on West Wisconsin Avenue from North 19th Street — heading to his residence when he was approached by a suspect who told him he had missed the bus.
Police say the suspect then displayed a silver handgun and pointed the gun at the victim’s body — demanding his valuables.
Police say the suspect said: “Give it to me before I kill you,” according to the criminal complaint.
The complaint says the victim told police the suspect took his keys, his cell phone, his wallet, his laptop — and even asked where his vehicle is located — saying “take me there before I kill you.”
The complaint says this victim reported the second suspect served as a lookout.
The complaint says police were able to determine that on April 23rd, a transaction was drawn from this victim’s debit card at a McDonald’s restaurant on West National Avenue.
Police viewed surveillance video and determined that the man using the victim’s debit card at the McDonald’s restaurant was Johnny Sellers.
Police say an additional transaction was made on April 23rd at the El Jalepeno restaurant on W. National Avenue.
Police viewed surveillance video and also lifted fingerprints from a TV inside the restaurant and were able to determine that the fingerprints belong to Sellers.
Additionally, police say Sellers was wearing the same had and watch as depicted in the McDonald’s surveillance video.
Police spoke with a third victim, who told them he was on the sidewalk on the west side of North 18th Street on May 2nd — at the south end of the entrance to a parking lot when a person walked quickly up to him and pulled a handgun from the sweatshirt he was wearing.
Police say the victim told them the man pressed the handgun against the left side of his jawline and said: “Give me all of your money.”
Police say the victim told them the suspect was able to get away with the victim’s wallet and his cell phone before the suspect fled.
The victim told police while climbing the steps leading from the sidewalk to the walkway in front of Marquette’s O’Donnell Hall, he heard a gunshot.
Police say this victim was able to positively identify the suspect who held a gun to his head as Thompson.
The complaint indicates police spoke with a fourth victim — who told them on May 2nd, he and a friend were walking back to their apartment building after studying at the library.
Police say the victim told them when he got to North 18th Street, he and his friend were approached by a suspect who asked what time it was — before removing a handgun and pointing it back and forth at the two men.
Police say the suspect then said: “Don’t move, where’s the money at?”
Police say the suspect had begun to search the pockets of one of the men, when the other man grabbed the barrel of the weapon.
The complaint says the suspect then fired one shot as the victim struggled with him for the gun.
That victim sustained a gunshot wound to his hand, and fell to the ground.
The complaint says the second victim began running towards their apartment building — and was chased by the suspect. The suspect eventually fled the scene.
Police say the victim who was shot was taken to Froedtert Hospital for surgery.
Shortly after this shooting incident, police say they were able to apprehend Thompson after a Marquette Public Safety Officer observed him running from the scene.
Police say a silver revolver with a black handle was discovered lying in the grass by a tree near N. 20th Street and West Wisconsin Avenue.
Police say they were able to interview the man who was shot — who said he was sure the person who had shot him was Thompson after viewing a lineup.
Sellers was apprehended on May 2nd at his sister’s residence in the 2900 block of West Wisconsin Avenue.
The complaint says police interviewed Thompson, who told them Sellers is his cousin.
Thompson told police Sellers is a robber and a womanizer, according to the complaint.
Thompson told police Sellers wanted to go to a party — and the two were dropped off, at which time Thompson says he was told there was no party. Thompson told police Sellers told him he wanted to make a few dollars by doing a robbery, according to the complaint.
The complaint says Thompson told police he learned Sellers had two weapons, and Thompson says Sellers demanded he come along — or he would “cap him.” Thompson told police Sellers also made reference to harming his family.
The complaint says Thompson told police Sellers was responsible for the shooting incident.
When police interviewed Sellers, Sellers told them he and Thompson were headed to party — and said it was actually Thompson who wanted to commit the robberies — and Thompson who had the gun.
The complaint says Thompson decided to rob the college students — saying they had lots of money — according to what Sellers told police.
The complaint says Sellers told police it was Thompson who pulled out the gun, and Thompson who fired the shot that left the victim injured.
The complaint says Sellers denied any other involvement.
As for the two armed robberies on April 22nd, the complaint says Sellers told police Thompson was responsible for the robberies — saying he’s the one who had the handgun — and he’s the one who robbed the two students.
The complaint says Sellers told police he went along with Thompson and helped bring the backpacks back to a waiting car.
The complaint says Sellers admitted that they went through the victims’ wallets and had used one of the victims’ credit cards to purchase McDonald’s and then Mexican food.
The complaint says Sellers told police he paid Thompson to keep a laptop taken from one of the victims.
The complaint says Thompson was convicted of burglary and convicted of robbery with threat of force in June of 2012.
He was sentenced to 24 months of initial confinement and 30 months of extended supervision.
Thompson and Sellers made their initial court appearances on Tuesday, May 13th.
Both have been ordered to have no contact with one another — and the victims in this case.
Thompson’s bail was set at $25,000 cash, and Seller’s bail was set at $15,000 cash.