Suspect in Circle K robbery that led to firing back in court

Christopher Beal

A man tied to an attempted armed robbery that garnered attention after the Circle K manager was fired for using a gun for protection was back in court Wednesday.

Christopher Denoria Beal, 27, of Austell appeared in Douglas County Magistrate Court charged with riot in a penal institution. Judge Joel Dodson denied bond, saying Beal was likely to commit further felonies. According to the warrant, he got into a fight Sunday with another inmate, 37-year-old David Michael Slaughter of Lithia Springs. He reportedly hit Slaughter repeatedly about the face and body.

Beal told the judge that he is in jail for criminal attempt to commit armed robbery.

"It was the Circle K there off of Highway 5," Assistant District Attorney Anna Vaughan said. "He has been denied bond on that case. He was also denied bond on a separate theft by shoplifting case that had occurred shortly before the armed robbery."

The shoplifting offense comes from a December 12 incident at the Thornton Road Walmart where Beal is accused of stealing three Leapster children's computers and a sewing machine. The total value was more than $500, which made his charge a felony.

But the incident many will remember happened Nov. 2 at the Circle K.

Johnny Jarriel Jr. was the manager on duty that morning when an armed robber approached him the office of the store at 5785 West Stewart’s Mill Road. Store officials declined comment, but the separation notice given to him lists "Possession/Use of a weapon on company property" as the reason for his termination.

Officers believe Beal is the man who pepper sprayed Jarriel and escaped the store after shots were fired. He allegedly dropped a laptop bag on his way out, which had a photocopy of his ID card, and Beal's fingerprints were found on the pepper spray can.

But Beal said at a Jan. 13 bond hearing that he was a theft victim himself.

He claimed that someone his stole his computer bag in early October and that he was in jail for shoplifting at the time. In a letter to Superior Court Judge Robert James received on March 20, he maintains his innocence.

"I am being held at Douglas County Jail for an infamous crime in which I did not commit nor had knowledge about until I got here," the letter reads. "After being questioned and threatened by a detective and insisted that I committed the crime, that's when I was aware that I was in the middle of a set up; one with a robber and two with a detective who's just keeps threatening me with life in prison."

He told the judge that he kept the pepper spray in the computer bag for protection because he isn't allowed to carry weapons as a convicted felon.

"The robber stole my bag and turns around and commits a serious offense and left me to answer for the crime," the letter reads. "I am innocent!!"

An arraignment in the case is scheduled for May 29.

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