By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
Villa Rica, Ga.--Four men plead guilty this week to charges stemming from the 2013 shooting death of retailer Mitch Mobley during an armed robbery at his Villa Rica, Ga. jewelry store.

The Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office said that Raphael Rucker, Bernard Hunt, Greg Clifton and Cranford Phelps entered guilty pleas on charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault as well as gangs violations, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. 

All four were sentenced to 30 years in prison. 

Their pleas and sentencing come just months after a fifth defendant, the 16-year-old shooter in the robbery, Eric Billings, entered a plea and was sentenced to life in prison.

The district attorney’s office could not be reached for comment by National Jeweler on Wednesday.

In June 2013, Rucker, Clifton, Hunt, and Billings--who was armed--entered The Mobley Company Jewelers Inc. in Villa Rica, a town located about 30 miles west of Atlanta, and began breaking the display cases in order to grab the merchandise. Cranford, meanwhile, waited outside in a getaway car.

Mobley, who was the owner of the store, confronted the robbers during the act and was shot by Billings. Three of the suspects left in the car while the Billings fled on foot but was later apprehended by police just a short distance from the store.

When police responded to a call regarding the activity at Mobley Jewelers, they arrived to find 45-year-old Mobley dead from the gunshot wounds.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Mobley family was consulted before the pleas were accepted.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Jeff Hunt said, “The final decision of course rests with our office, but we don’t make these decisions without consulting them. They agreed with how we disposed of this case. They were glad it’s over and glad that they’ve all gone to prison.” 





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