By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Credit Union robbers plead guilty
Frances Foster Nyepah
Jamelle Francis, Sean Foster, and Menshack Nyepah

The two remaining suspects in the takeover-style armed robbery of the Georgia’s Own Credit Union, carried out just before Christmas 2010, entered a guilty plea rather than go to trial last week. The three suspects were sentenced by Rockdale County Superior Court Chief Judge David Irwin to 50 years, 40 years, and 30 years. 

Menshack Jah Nyepah, 23, of Decatur and Sean Jamarko Foster, 24, of Stone Mountain pled to charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

Nyepah, one of the armed robbers, was sentenced to 50 years to serve 25.

Foster, identified as the getaway driver, was sentenced to 30 years to serve 10.

The other armed robber, Jamelle Lloyd Francis, 27, of Grayson had pled guilty in January 2012 to two counts of armed robbery and several accounts of aggravated assault. Had the case gone to trial he would have testified against his co-defendants, said Assistant District Attorney Dabney Kentner. 

Francis was sentenced on Thursday to 40 years, to serve 17.

Nyepah and Francis were reportedly in the Georgia Army National Guard at the time. Nyepah was out on bail at the time in connection with a shooting murder in DeKalb. The defendants are also wanted for two armed robberies of a Dollar General in Gwinnett in 2010.

“I’m delighted this case has been resolved and the outcome was favorable to the state,” said Kentner. “It was a horrible crime… This was extremely traumatic for (the bystanders in the bank). Everyone was afraid they might be killed.” 

She commended the fast action of local witnesses and CPD and FBI investigators in amassing a large amount of evidence, including fingerprints and DNA, that would have been used against the suspects had the case gone to trial.

“The involvement of the good citizen, in doing the right thing, it really saved the day,” said Kentner.

On Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010 around 12:30 p.m. two masked men dressed in black and armed with handguns came into the Georgia’s Own Credit Union branch at 620 Sigman Road, ordered the 15 people in the bank onto the ground and demanded money, said Kentner.

One of the suspects, later identified as Jamelle Francis, jumped the counter while the other armed suspect, Menshack Nyepah, stayed in the customer service area and dragged out the bank manager by the belt loop, demanding to know where the security camera video tape was, intending to destroy it.

A couple outside the bank saw the getaway vehicle outside the bank parked in the wrong lane of traffic. When they witnessed the two masked men leave the bank with a black bag and get into a car, a 2003 Mercury Marquee owned by Francis but driven by Sean Foster, they called 911.

The couple actually tried to block the getaway vehicle with their car, but the vehicle drove around them.

The witnesses then followed, giving moment by moment descriptions including a partial license plate number, as the suspects drove down Sigman Road and into an industrial area, where they lost the car.

The suspects abandoned the vehicle in an industrial area on East Park Drive, behind the public safety department, and fled by foot through the wooded area.

There happened to be a K-9 unit in the area, Newton County Deputy Chad Hunt and Pete the bloodhound, who began tracking through the woods immediately.

They came across black coveralls and boots discarded in the woods and, a short distance later, a black garbage bag filled with the money from the bank.

The K-9 unit came to a vacant house at 3901 Canter Court where they found other items of clothing and a cell phone reportedly stuck in the ventilating system.

Later, investigators learned that Nyepah had called his brother-in-law to pick him up from that address.

During that time, one of the suspects, Francis, showed up in a nearby neighborhood in his Army fatigues and knocked on the door of a home.

“He had removed the coveralls he was wearing, disposed of some evidence, knocked on the door and asked them to dial 911 saying he had been carjacked,” said CPD Lt. Jack Dunn in 2010.

Francis claimed his was car stolen at the intersection of Sigman Road and Gees Mill and that the car had been used in the robbery at the Georgia’s Own Credit Union.

But when police talked with him, there were reportedly discrepancies in the story that didn’t match up.

Francis later identified Nyepah and Foster as co-defendants in the bank robbery.

Security camera footage showed Nyepah had opened an account at the Credit Union three weeks before the robbery.

Kenter praised the work of investigators with the CPD and FBI and other local law enforcement.

The suspects are reportedly being held at the Rockdale County jail. 

Francis and Nyepah were Georgia Army National Guard specialists at the time attached to unit HHC 560th BFSB out of Fort Gillem.

Nyepah was also out at the time on $5700 dollar bond from DeKalb County on charges of murder, false report of a crime, and false statements for a May 2010 drive-up shooting of a 41-year-old father on the corner of Panola Road and Covington Highway. The murder charge was later dropped as Nyepah was reportedly the passenger and not the shooter in the car.

A judge reportedly amended the bond and released Nyepah so that he could serve with his Army National Guard unit in Afghanistan. He reportedly served a three month tour.

Even before the shooting, Nyepah was reportedly charged in November 2009 with felony aggravated assault, carrying a pistol without a license, discharging a firearm near or on a public highway and 1st degree criminal damage to property.

The suspects are also wanted in at least two armed robberies of a Snellville Dollar General in November 2010.