The alleged pilfering of wallets at and text messaging between friends about the thefts has reopened the 16-month-old case of a taxi driver's killing and led to a student there facing a murder charge.
Javin Rashad Andrews, now 17 and a Wheeler student, made his first court appearance Thursday with homicide earlier this week in the shooting death of Ricardo Francois at an East Cobb apartment complex in November 2010.
Andrews has been in the without bond since Jan. 12 for stealing items at Wheeler. Those charges include two counts of burglary and five counts of credit card theft.
In court testimony Thursday, Detective John Dawes said investigators came across text messages sent by Andrews' girlfriend to friends about his arrest.
One of those messages, Dawes said, included information about the shooting death of Francois, according to Channel 2 Action News.
“The text message said that Rashad, who we identified as Javin Rashad Andrews, had killed the taxi driver in the back of Lincoln Hills (apartments) and that it had been done with a gun,” Dawes said.
A student receiving that message went to school administrators, he said. The booking report from the indicates that Andrews was arrested on the Wheeler campus.
Andrews, who was 15 at the time, faces single counts of murder and aggravated assault, as does his alleged accomplice, James Levone Mitchell, now 20, who is awaiting extradition from South Carolina.
Dawes said in court that police had few leads on the murder since there were not witnesses. The murder weapon also has not been recovered, Channel 2 reported.
Francois had just been hired several days earlier as a driver for Rayo Taxi when he was found slumped over the wheel of his cab van early on the morning of Nov. 21, 2010, in a parking lot at Lincoln Hills.
Andrews' booking report lists his home address as the on Terrell Mill Road, not far from where Francois' murder took place.