Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 Teens Arrested in Cabbie's Death; Cellphone Call Requesting Taxi Plays a Key Role in Case

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 Teens Arrested in Cabbie's Death; Cellphone Call Requesting Taxi Plays a Key Role in Case

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan

A cellphone call asking for a Yellow Cab on Jan. 30 in the 7000 block of Bloxham Avenue played a key role in the arrest of three suspects in the killing of 62-year-old cab driver Melvin Gene Wright, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The homicide was Jacksonville's 14th of the year.

Now two brothers ages 15 and 17 - who lived only a block away from the crime scene at a youth home for foster children - are in the Duval County jail on charges of murder and armed robbery, while a third teen is en route from Broward County to face the same charges, according to police.

Under arrest are Tionne Williams, 15, and his brother Tavione Maurice Williams, 17, both of whom lived at the Panama Youth Services facility at 402 E. 63rd St., police said. A third suspect, Deron Montreal Brown, 18, gave himself up in South Florida, police said.

The investigation began just before 10 p.m. on Jan. 30 when neighbors reported a Yellow Cab was parked at a vacant house in the Panama Park neighborhood with its headlights on, Lt. Steve Gallaher said. Wright was found lying on the front seat with a gunshot wound to the chest, and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Gallaher said Yellow Cab received a call for a cab at that site near Wakefield Avenue. Investigators linked that phone's number with Tionne Williams, who lived at Panama Youth Services. That 7-year-old program provides residential services for hard-to-place foster care children between the ages of 13-17, according to its website.

Detectives interviewed several teens at the youth home and learned that three people planned to rob a taxi cab driver, masterminded by Brown, Gallaher said.

"He was armed with a .22-caliber rifle and the plan was that after he made the call and the cab arrived***the three of them together were going to commit the robbery," Gallaher said. "Deron was to approach the driver with his .22-caliber rifle. Tionne was to take the money and Tavionne was to distract the driver by getting in the back seat as a real fare. …

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