A jury on Tuesday heard the details of a plan that two men allegedly concocted last fall in the home invasion robbery of an Alphada Avenue apartment.
Both men had guns when they entered the unlocked front door wearing hoodies and masks.
And to get inside without any trouble, they allegedly used two young Akron women to set up the victim before they went in.
The women knew the victim, and used a series of text messages to tell him they were coming over to hang out. It was the night of Oct. 5, and the man was at home relaxing and watching the Ohio State-Northwestern football game.
The victim, 35, told a jury Tuesday about what happened minutes later. He testified that he was pistol-whipped and robbed at gunpoint. The two men, he said, ransacked his home while the women watched, and took $3,500 in cash, a 50-inch flat-screen TV and a bunch of designer shoes and clothes from his wardrobe.
The male victim’s testimony came on the second day of the Summit County jury trial of Travaski T. Jackson, 24, who is charged with aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, kidnapping and gun specifications attached to each first-degree felony charge.
Jackson had a co-defendant, Tyree Feaster of Akron, who was scheduled for a joint trial with Jackson on Monday morning before Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty.
But minutes before jury selection began, Feaster pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and weapons charges. Each principal offense carries a potential prison sentence of three to 11 years, plus a mandatory three-year term for each gun specification.
Feaster, 24, has been in frequent trouble with Akron police since early 2007, when he was arrested and sent to prison for the gang-connected shooting death of 18-year-old Shawrica Lester outside the Cage teen nightclub on East Market Street.
The victim of last year’s armed robbery told jurors that, to this day, he is unable to make a visual identification of the two men who robbed him because of the hoods and black masks they were wearing.
But he did testify that one man was short and stocky with short-cropped hair, matching Feaster’s description, and the other was slender and taller with braided hair, matching Jackson’s description.
“The shorter one told me not to look at him,” the victim told the jury, describing what happened when he was held at gunpoint. “The other one said: ‘You must think I’m the nice one,’ and then hit me in the head with his gun.”
Fearing for his life as the robbery played out from a Saturday night into the early hours of the next morning, Oct. 6, the victim testified that he tried to mentally stay a step ahead of the two men so he could get away.
At one point, he said he told the tall, slender man that he had a young son. “I wanted him to understand I didn’t want to die over nothing,” the victim testified.
Summit Assistant Prosecutor Mike Rickett firmed up the identification of the robbers by calling one of the two women, Katrina Collins, 19, of Akron, as a follow-up witness.
Collins told the jury that she and a close friend, Shyann Cherry, 19, were with Feaster and Jackson on the night of the robbery, and that they planned virtually every step together.
Before the robbery went down, Collins testified that Jackson told her and Cherry to buy a pack of latex gloves at a Walgreens store. When Rickett asked why they did that, Collins replied: “Obviously, so they wouldn’t leave no fingerprints.”
Collins and Cherry are in custody at the county jail as they await sentencing for their roles in the crime. They previously pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated robbery.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.