Beaufort News

Armed soldier surprises men attempting to rob stranded women

Two men convicted Thursday of trying to rob women stranded on Interstate 95 near Walterboro last year got more than they bargained for when one of the women's passengers turned out to be a trained -- and armed -- soldier recently returned from Iraq.

Jurors found Antwan McMillan, 22, and David Jakes, 20, of Smoaks guilty Thursday at the Colleton County Courthouse of three counts of attempted armed robbery, possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime, and three counts of first-degree assault and battery.

Judge Perry M. Buckner sentenced Jakes to 35 years in prison and McMillan to 30 years, according to the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office.

"I am pleased that both of these brazen, dangerous criminals have had their careers cut short," said assistant solicitor Amanda Haselden, who prosecuted the case. "They thought two stranded women would be an easy mark, but they didn't bargain on a well-trained and legally armed serviceman being just out of sight."

On June 3, 2010, an Army specialist, his wife and mother-in-law were in two vehicles headed south on I-95 when one of the vehicles towing a trailer had mechanical problems. While the soldier tended to the vehicle, three men pulled up in a car, according to a solicitor's office news release.

When Jakes pointed a gun at the mother-in-law and demanded cash, the soldier popped up from behind the vehicle with a gun. He ordered the men to leave several times, the release said.

Instead of leaving, Jakes pointed his gun at the soldier. The soldier fired several rounds, striking Jakes three times.

McMillan began firing from inside the car. Jakes crawled back to the car and they sped off, the release said.

The Colleton County Sheriff's Office found Jakes at a local hospital. He was arrested after recovering from his wounds. McMillan and a third suspect, James Davis, 21, were arrested later that week.

The case against Davis is still pending, according to the solicitor's office.