5 men charged in bat beating, theft

Published: Saturday, January 10, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 9, 2004 at 11:00 p.m.
Five Alachua County men were in jail Friday for beating a Gainesville man with a baseball bat the day before and stealing his wallet, deputies said.
Kenny Williams, 23, 105 S. Franklin St., Archer; Calis Boyd, 20, 513 SW 68th Terrace, Gainesville; Michael Johnson, 24, 6425 NW 25th Terrace, Gainesville; Savonta Mitchem, 23, 16110 SW 175th Ave., Archer; and Johnny Smith, 28, 510 Clayton Road, Archer, were charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office reported.
The five are each being held on $50,000 bonds, court records show.
The victim, Gabriel Tillman, 19, suffered bumps and bruises Thursday in the attack at 1605 SW 42nd St., Sgt. Keith Faulk said. Tillman was treated at the North Florida Regional Medical Center and released .
"He was bleeding in the head and unconscious when deputies arrived," Faulk said. "Initially they really thought the injuries were life-threatening."
Witnesses told deputies that attackers smashed the front window of Tillman's 1992 white Ford Crown Victoria and pulled him out of the car. The incident occurred at about 5 p.m. The men, Faulk said, then took turns hitting Tillman with an aluminum baseball bat.
Before driving away, they also stole Tillman's wallet from his back pocket.
The men were caught near Butler Plaza after Sheriff's Office helicopter pilot Richard Bray and spotter Mike Kelley saw their vehicle, a 2003 black Ford Excursion.
Faulk said the men are acquaintances of Tillman, but investigators at this time have no motive for the attack except robbery.
Investigators found $1,700 on Williams. Faulk could not say if the entire amount was stolen from Tillman.
Some of the men, including Johnson, Smith and Mitchem, have been convicted in the past, according to reports. Johnson has been convicted of grand theft auto and assault, Smith on criminal mischief and the possession and sale of cocaine charges and Mitchem on charges of sale of cocaine and affray.

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