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Drug suspect uses baby as shield from investigators
Two arrested after incident
Leon Tremaine Roberson

    Police said a man fleeing from law enforcement officers appeared to use his infant child as a shield during a drug-related incident early Friday morning. He and a woman now face charges for child cruelty and drugs.

    Statesboro-Bulloch County Crime Suppression Team Investigator Marcus Nesmith and Investigator Ben Lienhard responded to an apartment complex on Old Riggs Mill Road just after midnight early Friday morning after receiving a second drug complaint from neighbors of Leon Tremaine Roberson, 20, and Devyn Maria Turner, 18, both tenants at the apartment complex, reports stated.

    The investigators parked out of sight of the apartment, knowing Roberson had fled before when deputies showed up for previous drug complaints. They smelled burning marijuana, with the smoke "lingering heavily throughout the complex," Nesmith wrote in reports.

     The investigators could hear the suspects talking on a patio outside and heard a lighter being used and saw flames, with the odor of marijuana becoming even stronger. They backed off and called for additional CST officers to assist. When Nesmith approached again, he shined a flashlight on the couple and saw them holding what appeared to be a marijuana joint, he said.

    Both Roberson and Turner fled; Turner headed toward a wood line, and Roberson went inside the apartment and slammed a door, Nesmith said in reports.

    Turner threw the joint into the woods and resisted when Nesmith attempted to take her into custody, but he handcuffed her and escorted her back to the apartment, where he then stood guard at the back door to prevent Roberson from exiting, while Lienhard stood guard at the front door.

    Nesmith saw Roberson peer through a window, then watched, gun drawn, as the back door eased open and Roberson tried to leave the apartment with a baby girl clutched close to his chest. He appeared to be using the baby as a shield, and Nesmith held his weapon ready as Roberson kept his right arm hidden behind the door, as if he had a weapon, reports stated.

    Roberson at first refused officers' commands to show his hands, but he eventually did so as he slowly backed back into the apartment, still holding the infant close to his torso. Statesboro police officer Louis Parker and Bulloch County sheriff's Deputy Mac Edwards, both with the CST, arrived with Tasers drawn, and Roberson eventually complied with commands and was handcuffed.

    While the investigators waited for social workers to arrange for someone to take custody of the baby, Nesmith prepared a bottle of formula for the baby, and Parker fed her until the child's grandmother arrived to pick her up, reports stated.

    Both Roberson and Turner, who Bulloch County sheriff's Chief Deputy Jared Akins confirmed is the daughter of former Statesboro Public Safety Director Wendell Turner, were charged with second-degree cruelty to children, marijuana possession and obstruction.

    Roberson also was charged with reckless conduct, and Turner was charged with abandonment of dangerous drugs.

    Turner and Roberson were taken to the Bulloch County Jail, where they remain, awaiting further court proceedings, according jail records.


Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.


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