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Source saw home invasion suspects with ‘wads of money,' investigator testifies
3 suspects appear in Magistrate Court; 1 suspect still missing

A woman accused of plotting a January home invasion robbery called 911 days earlier to see how long it would take law enforcement to respond to the Lula address, according to testimony Monday, Aug. 27, in Magistrate Court.

Amanda Ashley Tyson, 33, and James Glenn Tyson, both of Lula, and Christopher Blaine Ward, 30, of Atlanta, appeared in court Monday. A fourth co-defendant, James Henry Kelley, 38, of Virginia, had not been apprehended.

The Tysons were accused by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office of conspiring and plotting with Ward and Kelley to rob a Lula family’s safe containing $100,000.

Investigator Joel Ayers took the stand to testify. Regarding the large sum of money in the safe, Ayers said the family was saving for a house.

Defense attorney Larry Duttweiler asked Ayers how authorities came up with the figure $100,000, which Ayers said was based on the victim’s comments.

Ward and Kelley allegedly kicked in the door of the Chattahoochee Street home around 4:30 a.m. Jan. 22. Both were wearing all black, carried handguns and spoke in Spanish, according to Ayers’ testimony.

For months, Ayers said he was “looking for two male subjects that spoke Spanish,” though most of his leads did not lead to anything fruitful.

More than six months later, rumors started circulating in Lula about the case, which led Ayers to a source that saw all four suspects “with wads of money,” the source said. Amanda Tyson allegedly confided in this source, Ayers said.

Ayers also learned of a 911 call by Amanda Tyson days before robbery, which Ayers called a “dry run” to see what the officers’ response time would be. When Ayers spoke with Amanda Tyson, she denied Ayers’ claim, saying it was a legitimate call.

Ayers said Amanda Tyson was related to the victims, and she had borrowed money from them before.

Ward allegedly struck one man on the head with a gun and demanded the victim “crawl from the living room to the master bedroom where he was held against his will,” according to Ayers’ warrant.

Ward was originally charged by the sheriff’s office with armed robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping and home invasion, while the Tysons were charged with conspiracy to commit home invasion and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

All of the charges moved on to Superior Court except for Ward’s kidnapping charge, which was dismissed.

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