UPDATE (Dec. 21, 4 p.m.): On Thursday, Dec. 21 members of the Covington Police Department traveled to Manchester, Tennessee and fulfilled their pledge of $5,000 (the reward) to the "tipster" in this case for information leading to the capture of the wanted suspects.
The Covington Police Who Care also sponsored an appreciation lunch for Officers and Staff for the arrest of the wanted suspects after the tip was received.
COVINGTON, Ga. – Christmas will be a little merrier for a good samaritan in Tennessee Thursday after the Covington Police Department pays the reward for the tip that led to the arrest and conviction of the two people responsible for the death of a Covington grandmother two years ago.
CPD Public Information Officer Allan Seebaran said he and Captain Ken Malcom will head to Manchester, Tennessee in the morning to present the $5,000 check to the tipster who recognized Brandon Shawn Smith and Stephanie Rodriguez and notified the police.
Smith and Rodriguez were convicted separately in the November 2015 robbery and murder of 65-year-old Marsha Johnson in the Walmart parking lot on Industrial Boulevard. The retired Bard employee was beaten and repeatedly run over by a stolen car driven by Smith as he tried to escape after stealing her purse. Rodriguez was a passenger in the car.
“The tipster saw them, recognized them and acted immediately, notifying the police,” Seebaran said. “The Manchester police responded immediately and apprehended the two.”
Malcom and Seebaran will also provide Christmas lunch for the Manchester Police Department.
The arrest of Smith and Rodriguez ended a multi-state crime spree that included the carjacking of a woman in Virginia and the beating and robbery of a 75-year-old woman in Dollar General parking lot in South Carolina. The car stolen in Virginia was the car used in the murder.
Smith pleaded guilty to murder, aggravated assault and kidnapping in Newton County Superior Court in July 2016. He is currently serving two life sentences plus 20 years.
For her role, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to armed robbery and aggravated assault charges last month in Newton County Superior Court. The New Mexico woman will spend the next 20 years in a Georgia prison without the possibility of parole.