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Learning to hit a lick Part II

The first part of "Learning to Hit a Lick," chronicled a teenager's passage from strip club dancer to murderous prostitute. This week, the story picks up minutes after the shooting deaths of Ray Goodwin and Claudell "Doc" Christmas.

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Smokey, who'd heard from Denise that Peaches and Snow might be the killers, was pretty sure she knew who the police were looking for. On Monday, she went down to a couple clubs, Dancer's Elite first, then Goosebumps, and asked to see the dancers' permits. Nobody gave her a problem, because most of the employees knew her. Smokey used to dance at Goosebumps, Dancer's Elite and a couple other strip clubs, too. Though she didn't work at any of them while Peaches did, Smokey knew of her.

As she flipped through the pages of girls' faces at Goosebumps, Smokey began to wonder whether she'd recognize Peaches even if she did find her. They'd only met a few times, once at Smokey's house when she was hosting a fish fry, and again at a Lake Lanier boat party Ray had thrown. Maybe Peaches would look different in her permit picture.

A few faces made Smokey pause, but it was the height and weight on one permit that got her to stop. She was almost positive. A hundred girls might look like Peaches, but this was the one. She checked the name on the permit. It said "Falicia Blakely" [32].

Smokey went straight to DeKalb County police headquarters and handed Sgt. T.S. Hunt a copy of the permit. Running a check on the name, police pulled a mug shot of Falicia, taken when she was arrested three weeks earlier. She'd been caught in a speeding car with dope in her purse.

Yep, Smokey said when they showed her the mug. That's her [33].

***

Even with Falicia's name in their hands, it would be six more days before police caught up with her.

The woman behind the register at Mrs. Winner's, the one on Piedmont Road near InTown Suites, noticed something familiar about the three customers who'd been hanging out in the restaurant way too long. Both they and the car they were driving, a gold Maxima, fit the description of suspects wanted in two Mrs. Winner's robberies that took place two days prior.

After those robberies, one in East Point and one in Decatur, a warning went out to all Mrs. Winner's restaurants in the Atlanta area: Be on the lookout for two young black women, driving a gold Maxima, who might be casing out a robbery. The warning also stated that one of the women might be a former shift manager from the East Point location named Ameshia Ervin.

The woman behind the register called 911. Three Atlanta Police patrol cars responded. By the time the cops barged in, the girls were holed up in the bathroom. One of them - the officers didn't specify who - immediately stepped out and into police custody. After repeated demands to give themselves up, the other two girls followed. In one of the bathroom stalls, in the tank of the toilet, an officer found a gun. In one of the girl's purses, another officer found a clip for a .32.

Running a check on the Maxima's license plate number, police discovered the tag belonged to a different car. Using the VIN number, they learned the car was a rental, one that DeKalb County police had reported stolen nine days earlier - from a man who'd been shot dead in his Clarkston apartment.

Falicia Blakely, Ameshia Ervin and Venus Hairston (another of Mike's girls, with whom Falicia was arrested during the traffic stop in July) were taken to Atlanta Police headquarters. Within hours, they were handed over to DeKalb authorities and charged with murder [34].

AFTER THE CAPTURE

From the moment of her arrest, Falicia gave up trying to run from what she'd done.

That night, she was placed in an 8-by-8-foot witness room. Her cuffs were removed. She was given food. And she agreed with little fanfare to write out, with the help of a detective, a sweeping description of the murders of Ray Goodwin, Claudell "Doc" Christmas and Lemetrice Twitty [35].

"It was Thursday, I think a week ago," she begins. "Ray told me to come over and give him some [Ecstasy] beenies." She goes on to describe how "the big boy with the twists" - Doc - "came over," how she "shot him ... in the head" and how "Ray started to scream."

"I fired one round at him," she continues, "and then shot all the bullets out of the gun."

Regarding Mechi, she says, "He had on a lot of jewelry so we knew he had money." Back at his apartment, when he allegedly went for Pumpkin, she says, "I took out my pistol and shot it at big boy. I unloaded it on him. I shot him in the head."

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