Police: Would-be robber is killed in struggle

Published: Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 1:53 a.m.

A Live Oak man was behind bars for murder after police reported he fought with a would-be robber who later died.



Melvin Henry Hicks, 45, was being held without bond at the Suwannee County jail Wednesday, authorities confirmed.

A second-degree murder charge is pending against Hicks in the death of Laborn Allen, 21, of Live Oak.

Officers reported Hicks struck Allen several times with a baseball bat. Hicks had chased the man following an attempted robbery at his home Tuesday night, according to Detective Sgt. Ron Shaw. Allen was taken to Shands at Live Oak where he was later pronounced dead from his injuries.

Police were awaiting information from an autopsy report Wednesday to confirm the official cause of Allen's death.

Police Chief Buddy Williams said there are questions over whether Hicks acted in self-defense.

“Mr. Allen along with another unidentified suspect are suspected attempted robbers in this situation,” Williams said.

“We do know that a struggle ensued and as a result of the struggle, Mr. Allen was pronounced dead.”

Police first learned about the incident after responding to a report of a fight in the 800 block of SW 8th Street at about 11:40 p.m., Shaw reported.

When officers arrived, they found Hicks standing over Allen's body. Police tried to revive Allen without success. Hicks ran from the scene, but police caught him a short distance away, according to officers.

Shaw said the law enforcement agency's investigation showed Allen and another person went to a home at 826 SW 8th St. where they planned to rob the residents. But the robbery attempt was thwarted, and the suspects ran off.

Hicks, who lives at the home, followed one of the men, later identified as Allen, and tackled him. A fight started, and Hicks struck Allen several times with the bat, Shaw reported.

Most of the scuffle between the two men occurred in the home's yard, Williams said. Allen was found about 50 yards from the residence.

Officers were searching Wednesday for the other person involved in the attempted robbery, police reported.

Police have witnesses to both the robbery attempt and the fight that followed, Williams said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney's Office for the 3rd Judicial Circuit are involved in the investigation, Williams said.

Lise Fisher can be reached at 374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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