A Knoxville man was indicted last month on robbery, kidnapping, and conspiracy charges for his role in an alleged robbery at gunpoint in Claxton in 2016 that authorities said started with an advertisement for escort services posted on backpage.com.
Richard Pressley, 31, has been indicted on charges of aggravated robbery, especially aggravated kidnapping using a weapon, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, and conspiracy to commit especially aggravated kidnapping. He was indicted by the Anderson County Grand Jury on July 11.
The alleged robbery and kidnapping occurred in a mobile home on Queen Street in Ben’s Mobile Home Park off Edgemoor Road in Claxton on May 21, 2016, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release after Pressley and his wife, Lindsay Pressley, were arrested last year.
Affidavits filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton on May 23, 2016, said the alleged victim, Cody Monroe, traveled from Athens to the address provided in the backpage.com ad. Monroe “made small talk” with the female, later identified as Lindsay Pressley, for about five minutes when a man brandishing a handgun, later identified as Richard Pressley, entered the living room and ordered Monroe onto the ground, according to the affidavits.
Monroe complied, the affidavits said.
“He was then bound with rope, and $600 in cash was taken from him,” according to the affidavits, which were filed by Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Corporal Bradley Prewitt.
Monroe was put into a back bedroom, but he was able to cut his ropes using a pocket knife and escaped from the trailer through an open window, the affidavits said.
Monroe was able to describe the home, a pickup parked in the driveway, and the male and female suspects as well as the suspects’ handgun, the affidavits said.
He said the female suspect had “offered sexual services from various amounts of money” through text messages, according to the affidavits.
Prewitt said he was able to determine that the alleged crime occurred at the Queen Street home, and that the Pressleys were the likely offenders. Among the factors he cited were the descriptions provided by Monroe, the use of the backpage.com ad, and the method of the crime. Prewitt said he had “numerous recent encounters” with the Pressleys, and during one of those encounters, they had admitted they had been engaged in a conspiracy to lure victims to their home using a backpage.com posting, then rob the victims in a manner similar to the one allegedly used against Monroe.
Monroe was shown recent booking photos of the Pressleys, and he confirmed they were the male and female who robbed and bound him, although he said Lindsay Pressley’s hair was more blonde in the photo.
Deputies arrested the Pressleys at the Queen Street home, and they found Monroe’s description of the home and yard, a fence, and vehicle to be accurate, Prewitt said.
Richard Pressley had a preliminary hearing in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton on June 8, 2016. After that hearing, charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, and possession of a firearm during a dangerous felony were bound over, or sent to, the Grand Jury.
Charges of promoting prostitution and criminal conspiracy were dismissed after that hearing.
Pressley pleaded not guilty during an arraignment on the new indicted charges in Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton on July 31. A grand jury indictment moves a case into criminal court.
It’s not clear if Lindsay Pressley will be indicted also.
Charges against Lindsay Pressley had included aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, promoting prostitution, and property theft of $500-$999, but those charges were dismissed after the June 8, 2016, preliminary hearing in Anderson County General Sessions Court, although it’s not clear why.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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