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Two men charged in robbery at labor camp

September 21, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

INWOOD, W.VA. - Two men were charged with kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges Monday in connection with an incident at a labor camp in Inwood, where police said doors were kicked in, people were held against their will and a man was shot in the head.

David Duckett, 29, of 607 E. Moler Ave., Martinsburg, W.Va., and Johnny Toussaint, 22, of 219 Pennsylvania Ave., Martinsburg, were charged with armed robbery, four counts of kidnapping, four counts of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit malicious wounding.

Duckett also was charged with one felony count of malicious wounding.

The man who was shot, Gedeon Walles, had a cut on his left temple, according to West Virginia State Police Trooper J.M. Walker. Walles spoke to police and then was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg, police said. Walker said the wound was not life-threatening and that a doctor he spoke with described it as superficial.

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The incident began when Walker responded to the labor camp off National Fruit Road at 11:34 p.m. Sunday for a reported robbery.

When Walker arrived, a man at the camp, Daniel Vixamar, said that at 10:40 p.m. two men dressed in black kicked in the front door of the camp's building. Vixamar said both men were wearing black-and-white masks and carrying guns, according to a criminal complaint filed in Berkeley County Magistrate Court.

Vixamar said he ran into his room and heard the men kicking in doors as they pursued him, records state. He said they kicked in his door and ordered everybody in the room to go into a large communal bathroom, records say. They then stole $300 that belonged to another man at the camp, police said.

Police found a 9 mm shell casing in the camp's hallway, police said.

Another victim, Tonny Joseph, described both men to police, saying one was taller and had a hairstyle of "dreads," police said. Joseph said the shorter of the two men was carrying a gun that looked fake, records state.

While Walker was interviewing Joseph, he overheard police radio traffic indicating that two men had been taken into custody by sheriff's department deputies, for allegedly brandishing a firearm in the labor camp's parking lot, records state.

Before the robbery was reported, two people called police and said they pulled into the labor camp parking lot because they were lost, said Deputy Brad Dusek, with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department.

Those people said that two men walked out of the labor camp building and brandished a gun at them, Dusek said. At one point the men discussed killing the couple but then let them go after telling them not to call police, Dusek said.

The two called police and gave a description of a Ford Explorer, which Dusek spotted and pulled over on Interstate 81 near the Inwood exit, he said. Inside, Dusek found a ski mask, a gun and a mask like those worn in the movie "Scream," he said.

Another gun was found along the side of W.Va. 51, where it apparently had been thrown from a car window, Dusek said.

Walker took a witness from the labor camp robbery to the ROCS gas station in Inwood, where deputies had the men in custody. There, the witness identified Duckett and Toussaint as the men who committed the robbery and kidnapping, police said. The witness also alleged to officers that Duckett was the man who fired his gun, shooting Walles, police said.

Deputies found a semi-automatic handgun, a BB pistol and masks, police said. Police found a 9 mm round and $847 in Duckett's pocket, records state.

Walker said the victims he spoke to indicated they are from Haiti. Walker and Dusek said they believe the labor camp is used by foreign workers who are here to pick fruit.

Duckett and Toussaint were both being held in Eastern Regional Jail without bail because kidnapping is a capital offense.

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