Couple pleads guilty to cab driver killing - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus

Couple pleads guilty to cab driver killing

Fred Bickler Courtesy of: Columbus Police Department Fred Bickler Courtesy of: Columbus Police Department
Carrie Lemke Courtesy of: Columbus Police Department Carrie Lemke Courtesy of: Columbus Police Department

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - "We feel that justice was served."

Chief Assistant District Attorney Alonza Whitaker is talking about justice for 54-year-old cab driver Vincent Flores and his family.

The A-Cab driver was killed in 2008, his charred body found in the trunk of his burned taxi.

Investigators say it's possible Flores was still alive when he was stuffed in the trunk of his cab and it was set on fire. He was already suffering from a stab wound.

In court Friday, Flores' wife looked at the suspects Fred Bickler and Carrie Lemke and said she doesn't think they ever set out to kill her husband.

But they did- Bickler pleading guilty to murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and arson and Lemke to lesser charges for looking on as it all happened.

Attorneys say the Illinois couple was in town at the time for the county fair.

"She was down here at the fair with Mister Bickler. He was working at the fair. He got fired and she left with him. He was trying to find money and find some way of getting back home when he came up with this idea and she went along with it and unfortunately, it went way too far. She is deeply sorry for the part she played in this," said Lemke's attorney public defender Moffett Flournoy.

According to prosecutors, the couple hopped in Flores' cab and things got worse- Bickler stabbing him in the neck and forcing him into the trunk before setting the car on fire.

"It was senseless and as the victim's wife said, it didn't start out that way but you see how things can spiral and that's what happened- they just spiraled out of control and you have to be able to accept responsibility for your conduct and we appreciate the fact that both parties did," Whitaker added.

Carrie Lemke will serve 25 years behind bars for her involvement in Flores' death. She pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter, criminal attempt armed robbery and aggravated assault.

Fred Bickler was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional five years on his charges.

Flores' wife declined an on camera interview with WTVM after Friday's proceedings but Whitaker spoke for her, saying she too received a life sentence: dealing every day with the loss of her husband.

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