An alert sheriff’s deputy uncovered an attempt by three inmates at the Gwinnett County Detention Center to bribe a victim “to disappear” and not testify in their trials.
Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Shannon Volkodav said Alfredo Sosa, 18, and Miguel Luis Camacho-Gonzales, 22, of Lilburn, and Jerome Derrell Welch, 22, of Lawrenceville, conspired to pay a Norcross man $1,000 to keep quiet. Matthew Barrett was a common victim to all three suspects, Volkodav said Thursday, March 20.
The three men and two accomplices were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, a felony. The three inmates were already in jail on armed robbery charges.
Barrett, who is being held in the Gordon County jail for Gwinnett authorities, will face charges of accepting money to withhold testimony.
According to a press release, a deputy’s attention to detail unraveled the scheme.
The deputy became suspicious when Sosa and Camacho-Gonzales both showed up at the jail’s infirmary after faking medical emergencies. The deputy found that they were co-defendants for the same armed robbery, in which Barrett was a victim. A subsequent search of Sosa’s jail cell found an expletive-laced note written by Welch, entitled “Plan to Free Us,” that detailed the plan.
Further investigation showed that Barrett was a common victim to all three.
According to the Welch’s plan, Camacho-Gonzales would have his mother, Maribel Gonzales, 42, to send money to his girlfriend, Jillian Michelle Dumke, 23, to pay Barrett the $1,000.
Part of the note read: “We have one shot to make this work, so please don’t [expletive] it up.”
Volkodav said Western Union records showed Maribel Gonzales paid $1,000 to Barrett.
“The money was to be utilized to pay victim Matthew Barrett to ‘disappear’ before Welch’s upcoming March trial,” Volkodav said, adding, “Recorded phone conversations revealed that in exchange for this payoff, upon his release from jail, Welch would ensure that Sosa and Camacho-Gonzales’ other victims in an unrelated armed robbery case would not appear to testify at their trial.”