A Johnson County mother and her son were convicted this week of beating an elderly Johnson County man and robbing him in an incident last year.
According to court documents, a jury found Arthur “Shane” Webb, 32, of Prestonsburg, and his mother, Ronnie Webb, 51, of Van Lear, guilty on charges including robbery, burglary and assault in connection with the January, 2017, robbery of Wallace Conley, who was 80 years old at the time of the incident.
The case was tried in Lawrence County.
Shane Webb was convicted Wednesday on charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and first-degree assault and was recommended by the jury to serve a total of 14 years in prison, according to assistant Commonwealth Attorney Anthony Skeans, who called the case a “crime of cold malignancy.
Skeans said Webb had planned the robbery for some time and even attempted to recruit individuals to assist in the robbery after Conley brought Webb into his home and gave him a job.
Ronnie Webb was convicted on charges of fourth-degree assault, second-degree burglary and second-degree robbery and was recommended by the jury to a serve a total of 11 years in prison.
During the trial, Skeans addressed Webb directly in reference to a note found in the floorboard of the vehicle the two were alleged to have been driving when they committed the crime, a note that Conley reportedly kept in his wallet with the names of his grandchildren and their phone numbers written on it.
“No matter how hard you try, no matter how many stories you tell, you can’t get away from the note, that, until you broke into (Conley’s) house, beat him and robbed him, was in his wallet instead of in the floorboard of your truck,” Skeans said.
According to a report from a Kentucky State Police Det. Jason Dials, Conley called 911 on the evening of Jan. 13, 2017 and advised he had seen a white vehicle parked below his residence when he came home from work and that this worried him, so he spoke with the occupants of the vehicle, described as a white Chevrolet Trailblazer. According to the report, Conley said the woman in the vehicle seemed like she was trying to hide her face as he spoke with her and the female advised him that “she was just lost.” According to the report, several witnesses corroborated this statement and said they, too, had seen the vehicle parked along the roadside outside of Conley’s home. This information was further validated by a nearby church’s surveillance cameras, which showed a vehicle matching this description, according to the documents.
Conley returned to his home, the documents said, and began watching the news when he heard a knock on his door and the woman requested to use his telephone. Conley denied this request, according to the documents, and shut his door, heading into his home to retrieve his firearm.
Conley’s door was then opened forcibly and, Conley advised, he was struck in the back of the head, according to the documents. Conley could not describe his attackers, but advised there was a male and a female and that he had, the documents said, fought back against the attackers, who Conley said had then taken his wallet and money from his person.
During his investigation, Dials visited the homes of several people, one of whom provided proof that he was home during the time of the robbery and advised Dials that Shane Webb had told him of his plans to rob Conley approximately three weeks prior to the crime, according to the documents, and that Webb had access to a white Chevrolet Trailblazer.
In an interview with Dials, Shane Webb first denied involvement before he admitted to the crime and denied his mother’s involvement, according to the documents, but also admitted that he had taken $300 from Conley and that he and Ronnie Webb had gone to Walmart that night and purchased cellphones with a value of approximately $350. Shane Webb continued to deny Ronnie Webb’s involvement, saying he had dropped his mother off “to buy drugs” while he committed the robbery.
Conley was then medically examined at Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center, where it was noted that he had head injuries and lacerations, according to court documents, as well as swelling and dark spotting in his right leg, injuries which were consistent with what Conley had told his daughter, Sallee Holbrook, stating that he had been involved in a struggle with the Webbs and had received several blows to the head and right leg.
Cellphone records showed that Shane and Ronnie Webb had communicated with several friends regarding the case and plans to plead out of charges with confessions, but only if they were able to receive a 20-percent sentence and the two talked openly about the case during these phone calls, according to court documents, saying things such as “we would have already done our time and been home if it wasn’t Wallace Conley.”
The duo is expected to be sentenced at a later date.