Two men arrested in New Year’s Day attack on Chesterfield business owner

Posted at 10:30 PM, Sep 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-10 11:44:02-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Police have arrested two men accused of robbing and beating  Earl Spencer Jr. while the 74-year-old man opened Spencer's gas station on Centralia Road on New Year's Day.

Mark R. Kelly Jr., 25, and Glenn R. Francis, 35, have each been indicted with malicious wounding, robbery, brandishing a firearm and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, Chesterfield Police said.

Glenn R. Francis (PHOTO: Chesterfield Police)

Glenn R. Francis (PHOTO: Chesterfield Police)

It turns out a cashed-in stolen lottery tickets helped police with their eight-month-old investigation into the crime.

While Spencer said he did not know the man who attacked him, a multi-jurisdictional grand jury indictment has spelled it out: the suspect knew an employee and it all may have been an inside job.

Who could forget the picture?  A Chesterfield business owner bloodied, beaten and robbed of thousands of dollars in deposits on New Year’s Day.

earl spencer

"The girls at MCV told me I was lucky to still be here,” Spencer, 74, said.

He said because of the beating, he no longer conducts business as usual.

"I've changed the way I do stuff," he said. "I haven't been going to the store.  Somebody else does it now."

Detectives told Spencer about the arrests in his case earlier in the week.

"They've worked long and hard on it and I appreciate that they've made indictments," Spencer said.

"It’s finally good to see some justice.  Earl didn't deserve the whippin’ he got,” neighbor David Fricke said.

The indictment stated the two men had a connection to an employee.  Investigators said their story began to unravel when detectives followed a trail of cashed-in and stolen lottery tickets.

Fricke said he's glad their luck ran out.

"It's great,” he said.  “It’s about time.  I figured it was somebody up to no good and hiding out for him."

According to the indictment, a prepaid cell phone also helped police connect the dots in this case.

Spencer said he had been making morning deposit runs for more than 30 years, something any employee would surely have known.