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Monday, January 07, 2008

Man wanted for murder, armed robbery turns self in
By Daniel Silliman
Clayton News Daily, March 27, 2007

Alfonso Mason saw his face on television. It was an older picture, so his glasses weren’t as thick and his hair wasn’t as gray, but it was him.

The 56-year-old was in an extended-stay motel in DeKalb County. All he did all day was sleep and watch TV and when he saw his face and saw he was wanted by the Clayton County Police for the murder of a motel maid, the armed robbery of Stockbridge’s Suburban Lodge and the car-jacking of the assistant manager’s car, he decided to turn himself in, Clayton County Police Detective Tom Martin said.

“He said his life was meaningless. He was waking up and watching TV and it was the same thing every day,” Martin said.

Mason walked into the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office at 2:38 a.m. Sunday, 17 days after he allegedly stabbed a woman to death and held up the 7465 Davidson Parkway motel. He told the deputy on duty who he was and surrendered, Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner said.

He had a black revolver in his pocket when he turned himself in, Clayton County Police said, a gun fitting the description of the one used in the robbery.

During a four-hour interview with Martin, Mason described his life from the time he was the vice president of a bank in New Jersey to early in March, when he was planning to kill the 49-year-old cleaning lady at the motel where he had lived for about a year, Martin said.

“This is a man who went from making a six-figure income to using his Home Deport credit card to pawn items he’d just bought,” Martin said.

Mason confessed to the armed robbery immediately, and told police he had planned the robbery because he was having trouble paying his rent. He told Martin he had been a vice president at The Bank of Tokyo until 2000. His severance pay ran out in January 2007 and he began to struggle to afford the $190 weekly rent for the motel room.

Martin said Mason had originally moved to Georgia to be near his daughter, but the two weren’t getting along. Mason had been a resident at the extended-stay motel for long enough that the employees knew who he was and thought he was joking when he said he was robbing them.

They described him to police as a clean man who wasn’t likely to commit a crime.

Mason had a drinking problem, Martin said, and was growing increasingly depressed and frustrated that people making an hourly wage at a cheap motel were kicking him out.

“He just started losing it,” Martin said.

At about 1 p.m. on March 7, he approached the motel assistant manager, 40-year-old Bridgett McLemore, and told her he was having money problems, according to police reports.

“He was having money problems because he couldn’t contact a friend living in New York to send him some money,” McLemore told Clayton Police Officer Michael Medious. He was “basically rambling and not being very coherent,” she said.

Mason then followed McLemore back into the office, according to the police report, pressed a small black revolver into her back and took $1,812 out of the cash register.

Police later found the body of Cynthia Hyman, who worked as a maid at the motel, between a bed and a wall, in a room used for storage. She was stabbed five times in the stomach a few minutes before the robbery, Martin said.

Mason drove off in McLemore’s 2000 silver-colored Pontiac Sunbird and police put him on a wanted list. The motel offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to Mason’s arrest and conviction.

He turned himself in.

“He said he saw his picture on TV and thought he should turn himself in,” Martin said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was preparing to broadcast Mason’s face on a television list of people wanted on the East Coast later this week.

During the interview, Mason also confessed to the murder, Martin said.

Mason is facing charges of murder, armed robbery and car-jacking in Clayton County Superior Court. He is also facing federal prosecution on the armed robbery charges.

Police are still looking for the Pontiac, which was last seen in the parking lot of a DeKalb County strip club, Martin said.

Anyone with information about the vehicle was asked to call Martin at (770) 477-3635.

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