Aiken cross-dresser pleads guilty to attempted murder charges



Monday, Sept. 10, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- The man who broke into an Aiken jewelry store dressed in women's clothing pleaded guilty Monday morning.

Dominique Lemond Lee Fortenberry pleaded guilty to to three counts of attempted murder, one count of attempted armed robbery and one count of discharging a weapon into a vehicle while occupied.

These charges date back to two incidents around this time last year. The first was a drive-by shooting near the Sunoco on York Street in Aiken in August 2011. No one was injured.

The next incident occurred on Sept. 12, 2011, at Porky Bradberry's Jewelry Store off Whiskey Road. He came in dressed in women's clothing and presented a pistol. As he told one clerk to get down on the ground, Bradberry pulled out a pistol and shot Fortenberry in the face. Fortenberry returned fire, and one bullet hit Bradberry in the arm. He fled the scene with a female accomplice (who will also be tried at a later date). Both were later captured. Solicitor Strom Thurmond describes it as a Bonnie and Clyde relationship.

Fortenberry's lawyer says the incidents were half-baked plans by the 20-year-old. She says he can be a productive member of society once he's served his time.

Judge Early says the combined sentences would be 120 years. However, he's allowing Fortenberry to serve his sentence concurrently, meaning he'll serve 30 years at the most.

Most of courtroom was in tears, including Fortenberry, during the proceedings.

In an interview with News 12 afterward, Bradberry said he loves Fortenberry and his family. Bradberry asked the judge to be lenient and requested to hug Fortenberry. Judge Early did not allow it.

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