Gas station becomes scene of murder, armed robbery for separate online sales

A murder and an armed robbery happened at the same gas station during online transactions. (WSMV)

Police say a man was trying to sell some video equipment at the Phillips 66 gas station on Massey Road on Sunday afternoon when the buyers came with guns and robbed him.

Wednesday, one of the suspects, Marlon Cotham, from Nashville, turned himself in.

"It has been an issue across the country," said Michael Van Dyke, Chief Deputy Sheriff in Robertson County. "People just need to be vigilant when they're going on online transactions and know who they are dealing with. Make phone calls. Talk to these people.”

Police say they victim was soliciting buyers on the website He decided to meet the interested buyer at the Phillips 66 in Cedar Hill.

That location is the same Cedar Hill gas station where Jonathan Outlaw was shot and killed just a few days prior while trying to sell his car he'd advertised on Craigslist with a totally different group of people.

"Both of them are involving transactions from Nashville and Clarksville," Van Dyke said. "People meeting up along the interstate to conduct online business."

Ethan Pennington frequents that gas station. He told News 4 that he sells items online using the letgo app as well.

"I never really thought twice about it, to be honest," Pennington said. "I think that's where a lot of people go wrong because they trust that since it's an official app, they can just meet up with anybody and everything is going to be cool, but that's not the case."

Police say it’s best to call the interested buyer first and do research. Van Dyke said many times account names and online profile information may be fake.

Some police agencies have suggested meeting at their precinct parking lots for better assurance of safety.

"I think it's good to meet anywhere that's a highly public area," Van Dyke said. "Law enforcement agencies are a good place to meet. Hopefully, most criminals would not go to a law enforcement agency to commit a crime is what you would think. But, any of those places where there are a lot of people, a lot of witnesses, hopefully will deter most individuals from committing a crime."

Police say while both main suspects in both cases have turned themselves in, neither acted alone. The investigations into both incidents are ongoing.

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