Three local men believed tied to gang violence have been indicted on various criminal charges by a McDuffie County grand jury, The McDuffie Mirror has learned.
The trio is identified by records filed in the McDuffie County Superior Court Clerk's office as:
Joseph Earl Collins, of the 1500 block of Hobbs Mill Road, Dearing;
Jermaine Levon Evans, of the 2500 block of Wrens Highway, Thomson; and
Demarcus Vonteegus Smith, of the 1500 block of Rock House Road, Thomson.
Each of the defendants is charged with two counts of Violation of Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, aggravated battery and robbery by force.
They are accused of being associated with a gang known as Folk Nation, according to court records. Folk Nation is a criminal street gang.
Members of the grand jury charge the three men "maliciously" and seriously disfigured Robert Chance Dent's body by breaking his nose and jaw during an assault that occurred on Feb. 16, court records reveal.
The trio also is accused of robbing Mr. Dent of some money.
In an unrelated case, a Thomson man was indicted for last December's robbery of Zaxby's restaurant on Washington Road near Thomson.
Justin Samuels, of the 2800 block of Wrens Highway, was indicted on charges of armed robbery, kidnapping and wearing a mask to conceal his identity.
Mr. Samuels is accused of robbing the local restaurant on Dec. 7, while using a BB gun. Following the robbery of the night manager, Mr. Samuels ordered some of the business's employees into a walk-in cooler while he attempted his getaway.
Deputies with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department later arrested a suspect and found evidence linking him to the robbery.