RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Three people charged in connection with the 2015 armed robbery of Walnut Creek Amphitheatre where $500,000 was taken were sentenced on Friday in a Wake County courtroom.
Six suspects were charged in the armed robbery that occurred July 13, 2015. Three of those six — Jamell Melvin, 35, Javeal Baker, 19, and Kianna Baker, 35, were sentenced Friday. Adjani Jari Bryant, Demarcus McNeill, 22, and Shymale Robertson, 20, were also charged in the case.
Melvin was charged with six counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, five counts of second degree kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. Melvin also faces drug charges. He was sentenced Friday to a minimum of 20 years in prison with a maximum of 28 years.
Javeal Baker was charged with six counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, five counts of second degree kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. He was sentenced Friday to a minimum of 17 years and a maximum of 24. Baker is the son of Kianna Baker.
Kianna Baker was given a suspended sentence of eight months with 36 months of probation. Her attorney said she suffers from bipolar disorder and also noted that she has children. Baker withdrew her opportunity to appeal. The judge cited the leniency in his sentencing due to her children.
All three have prior records, which played a role in their sentencing.
In a 911 call released shortly after the crime in 2015, a victim can be heard telling a dispatcher armed robbers took $500,000 from the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre.
The caller said three suspects came in with guns and wearing masks. Raleigh police said the robbers hit the venue around 11:30 a.m. that day.
Authorities said the stolen money was apparently stashed in a storage unit.
Police said that three armed suspects entered the office, robbed it of cash and took wallets and cell phones from employees before fleeing on foot, police said.
Other details from officials include that a Walnut Creek worker was pistol whipped in the back of the head and the only woman — Kianna Baker — helped two to escape and she had possession of the key to the safe that held the money.
“I didn’t recognize the voices,” the caller said.
The caller also said the suspects did not use names to address each other.
“They knew where the money was kept,” the caller said. “I’ve done this for 20 years and this has never happened.”
In addition to converging on the crime scene, Raleigh police and other law enforcement personnel searched surrounding area, police said at the time.
Several of the victims working at Walnut Creek the day of the armed robbery spoke Friday. Some pointed out that they held no malice in their hearts for the criminals, but did want to see them get the maximum sentence. All who spoke said their lives were forever changed by the crime and they now often fear for their safety.
One of the victims told the suspects that they had taken away their sense of security, fearlessness and safety.
Another victim said that they hoped the three received the maximum sentence and that they use that time to go to school and learn skills so they don’t have to put a gun in somebody’s face.
The three suspects will also be required to pay restitution for a total amount of nearly $286,000.