As two men began to repossess a Honda Accord, its driver started the car and drove forward — almost striking them before firing shots at the pair, federal prosecutors say.
The next day, the driver’s loaded pistol was found at the base of a tree along the route he fled from police in Athens, Georgia, court documents state.
An analysis by the FBI linked the pistol to the shooting and resulted in the man’s arrest a month later on Oct. 26, 2020, prosecutors say.
Now Ceddrick Demon Mercery, 30, of Athens, will spend the next decade in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia announced in a Nov. 14 news release. His 10-year prison sentence comes after he pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
“Ceddrick Mercery is a career violent offender who is now removed from the streets of Athens and our community is safer for it,” Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Jerry Saulters said in a statement.
Mercery was previously convicted three times in unrelated cases for cocaine possession, a hit and run and aggravated stalking, according to his plea agreement.
His latest conviction goes back to early in the morning of Sept. 23, 2020, when two men were trying to repossess a 2011 Honda Accord sitting in a driveway, the plea agreement states. While Mercery did not own the car, officers discovered he was considered a “close friend” of the woman who did.
As the two men walked toward the car, it turned on, prosecutors say. Then, one repo man announced they arrived to repossess the Honda before Mercery put the car into drive.
Mercery sped forward, causing the two men to jump out of the way to avoid getting hit, according to the plea agreement.
Soon after, Mercery rolled down the passenger window and began shooting at the men who dodged three bullets, the plea agreement states. One jumped into the nearby woods while the other laid low on the ground to avoid the rounds.
Ultimately, Mercery was able to flee from a police officer trying to pull him over and abandoned the car before he disappeared on foot, prosecutors say.
Authorities discovered heroin and methamphetamine in the car before finding Mercery’s pistol the next day, according to the release.
The gun was turned over to the FBI’s lab in Quantico, Virginia where investigators conducted ballistics testing which revealed the weapon was used to shoot at the repo men, prosecutors say.
On Oct. 26, 2020, the FBI and Athens-Clarke County officers located Mercery at an apartment complex where he “was armed with a pistol and was pacing inside…voicing displeasure that the police were outside,” according to the release.
Before his arrest, he tried breaking his phone and flushing it down the toilet, the plea agreement states. Authorities found the broken phone and another gun inside the apartment.
“Prosecuting repeat offenders who are responsible for the greatest gun violence in our communities is our office’s highest priority,” U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said in a statement.
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