By Jimmie E. Gates
October 25, 2018
A federal judge has set a March 15 deadline for prosecutors to decide if they will seek the death penalty against a “Bonnie and Clyde” couple accused of killing a pawn shop owner and two employees in Jackson.
Jamison Layne Townsend, 37, a former nurse, and her boyfriend, Joshua Garcia, 39, who had done several stints in prison, are charged in both state and federal court with capital murder in the December 2016 shooting deaths of Bill Mosley, 81, Robert Ivy, 60, and Ted McLemore, 77, at Bill’s Pawn Jewelry Coin/Stamp Exchange.
Federal judge William Barbour Jr. recently filed an order that the U.S. attorney submit his recommendation to the Department of Justice on or before Dec. 17, and notify the court and the parties on or before March 15 if he intends to seek the death penalty.
U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst of the Southern District of Mississippi hasn’t indicated yet whether his office is planning to seek the death penalty.
Last week in Hinds County Circuit Court, Judge Tomie Green granted the defense a delay in the state trial, which had been set for November. Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith’s office had filed an intent to seek the death penalty.
Hinds County Assistant Public Defender Ray Charles Carter said more time was needed to prepare. No new trial date has yet been set.
The couple is also accused in burglaries at Jay Jays and JB’s Pawn Shop in Gulfport and Sam’s Jewelry & Pawn in Pascagoula, which authorities say took place prior to the slayings in Jackson.
An affidavit filed by Special Agent Tyree Koerner of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the Western District of Missouri links a weapon found in the possession of a Missouri man to one of the Coast pawn shops. The affidavit states weapons were stolen from Jay Jays.
Authorities say Townsend and Garcia brought “a majority, if not all of the firearms stolen” in that crime to the Kansas City area and allegedly sold around 20 of them to Reno Dillard, 39, of Grandview, Missouri, for between $1,200 and $1,500.
Garcia is also charged in Missouri for unlawful use of a weapon and second- degree burglary, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Department website.
The couple was captured in December 2016 in Kansas after a nationwide alert was issued.
Garcia has been to prison six times in 18 years for offenses in Harrison County, ranging from burglary to grand larceny and armed robbery. Court records show he had lived in Byram and Vancleave at the times of his convictions. He was released on parole in 2014 and was off parole by January 2015.