By Jean Cole
Five people accused in a beating, robbery and shopping spree last fall have been formally charged in the case, records show.
Limestone County Jail records show Robert “Montez” Taylor, 19, of 20575 Todd Circle, Athens; Sirena Kay Pugh, 39, of 20308 Wallace Lane, Athens, and her son, Dacota Casey Pugh, 18, of 14646 New Cut Road, Athens, were arrested Wednesday following indictment by a Limestone County grand jury, jail records show. Taylor is charged with first-degree robbery and second-degree assault. Sirena and Dacota are charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree assault and hindering prosecution.
Two other alleged conspirators — Tabathia Marie Berzett, 27, of 20575 Todd Circle, Athens, and Cody Eagle Vibbert, 16, of 15858 Dupree Drive, Athens — have also been indicted on charges of first-degree robbery, and possibly other charges, but have not yet been arrested, records show.
Taylor is accused of conspiring with his girlfriend, Berzett, and Vibbert in the beating and robbery of Berzett’s neighbor, Sergio Vega, 48, on Oct. 28, 2012.
Limestone County Sheriff’s Investigator Leslie Ramsey said Vega, an Hispanic man living in the country illegally, was lured to an Athens apartment, beaten with a baseball bat and robbed of $3,000 in cash he had earned working construction. While the victim sought help, the three accused in the attack went on a shopping spree that included buying engagement rings from Walmart, a purse and cologne from Victoria’s Secret and dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings, among other purchases, she said.
Ramsey said at the time of Taylor’s initial arrest, investigators believe he struck Vega with the bat and punched him. Vibbert also punched Vega, she said.
“Montez told Cody to get in Vega’s pocket, where he finds $3,000 that Vega had planned to wire back to Mexico,” Ramsey said following their initial arrest last year. “After the attack, the victim leaves, and Tabathia, Cody and Montez go to Buffalo Wild Wings and eat a big meal. They get some Carhart jackets and some boots at Tractor Supply. Montez gets Tabathia an engagement ring at Walmart and they buy some cologne and a purse at Victoria’s Secret. They stop by the Shoe Department and go to the mall. They also bought their child an Xbox 360.”
What remained of Vega’s money, about $700, was later found stuffed under an air-conditioning unit at Montez’s apartment, Ramsey said.
The Pughs were initially charged last year with hindering prosecution because Sirena allegedly hid some of the trio’s store purchases in her attic and Dacota allegedly put a comforter stained with Vega’s blood into a garbage bag and threw it in the river at Grigsby Ferry in Elkmont, Ramsey said. However, the grand jury indicted the two on the hindering charge plus charges of robbery and assault, records show.
Berzett was initially charged with first-degree conspiracy to commit robbery and Vibbert was initially charged with first-degree robbery and second-degree assault, records show. Although Vibbert is a juvenile, he was charged as an adult because he is accused of committing a Class A felony.