Six people have been charged and a seventh person is in custody on separate charges after the group allegedly conspired to take advantage of a mentally unstable inmate while she was incarcerated.
According to the Athens Police Department, the seven burglarized her house, drained her bank account, and used her vehicles and credit cards over several months.
Correctional officers in the Limestone County Jail notified investigators on November 26 that a mentally unstable inmate was being exploited. Investigator Kristin King spoke to the victim in the jail, who told King that her house had been broken into and her cars had been stolen as well as all the money in her bank accounts.
Investigators went to the victim’s residence on Quinn Road, where they found Derrick Hicks, Bethany West, and another female. They discovered that Hicks had been staying inside the residence, and that West and the other listed suspects had burglarized the house.
Hicks had allegedly damaged both the victim’s vehicles, modifying one of them to start with a screwdriver since he couldn’t locate the key. Investigators found the key to the other vehicle in Hicks’ possession. The victim’s bank accounts had been drained, and, although investigators have not yet determined the amount taken, it is believed to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Jewelry, cash, and other items valued in the thousands of dollars were also taken from the residence.
On November 30, Investigator King reviewed telephone conversations from the jail between Monica Gray and Derrick Hicks (Gray’s boyfriend). King discovered that Gray, who was a fellow inmate with the victim, had facilitated the burglary of the victim’s residence and instructed Hicks where to go and how to carry out the crime.
An additional phone call between Monica Gray and Antonio Nelson revealed a conspiracy to obtain five ounces of methamphetamine from a cartel. Nelson was subsequently arrested for Conspiracy to Commit a Controlled Substance Crime (Trafficking).
Monica Gray, 37, of Athens is charged with Theft 1st Degree (2 counts), Burglary 3rd Degree, and Conspiracy to Commit a Controlled Substance Crime (Trafficking). She was already held in the Limestone County Jail at the time of her offenses, and her additional bond on the new charges has not yet been set.
Derrick Hicks, 33, of Athens is charged with Theft 1st Degree (2 counts), Burglary 3rd Degree, and Illegal Possession of a Credit/Debit Card (2 counts). He is held in the Limestone County Jail on $15,500 bond.
Bethany West, 33, of Athens is charged with Burglary 3rd Degree and Illegal Possession of a Credit/Debit Card (3 counts). She has been released from the Limestone County Jail on $7,000 bond.
Christopher Aday, 38, of Lester is charged with Burglary 3rd Degree, and he has been released from the Limestone County Jail on $2,500 bond.
Vincent Scales, 37, of Athens is charged with Burglary 3rd Degree, and he has been released from the Limestone County Jail on $2,500 bond.
Antonio Nelson, 28, of Athens is charged with Conspiracy to Commit a Controlled Substance Crime (Trafficking). He is held in the Limestone County Jail on $12,500 bond.
Brandy Johnson, 27, of Elkmont, was arrested in Decatur on Monday morning on charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Giving a False Name to a Law Enforcement Officer, and Theft. She is being held in the Morgan County Jail on $2,900 bond.
The investigation remains ongoing, and additional arrests are expected in this case.
Source: Athens Police Department, Decatur Police Department