Laoch An Phobal For 2013
Summary of Fort Lauderdael Police Officer Walter Ilyankoff
Robbery / Murder July 21st, 1974.
Alvin Ford **Deceased**
Henry Robinson DOC # 047115
George Decosta DOC # 047116
Alvin Lewis DOC # 046735
George Decosta and Alvin Ford had been acquaintances in the northern Florida for several months. On July 20, 1974 Alvin Ford stopped at George Decosta’s house in Jacksonville, Florida and suggested they drive to Fort Lauderdale to “make some money.” Alvin Ford explained that a friend, Alvin Lewis had already checked several “Red Lobsters” and was waiting for them to arrive in town. They met with a mutual friend, Henry Robinson and began the 300+ mile drive to Fort Lauderdale. George Decosta drove the trio south until he got a speeding ticket in the Orlando area. Henry Robinson drove the rest of the way.
The three arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, July 21, 1974 at 12:30 a.m., they were met at the turnpike by Alvin Lewis. Alvin Lewis directed the three men to a motel on Federal Highway, 3 miles south of the Red Lobster Restaurant where they spent the night and planned the robbery. George Decosta later stated that his role was to enter the restaurant and secure the employees after Alvin Ford entered.
At approximately 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 21, 1974, Alvin Lewis picked up the three from the motel. All four subjects then drove to look at two different Red Lobster Restaurants. The group decided on the one located at 5950 North Federal Highway.
Alvin Ford and Henry Robinson entered the rear of the restaurant while George Decosta and Alvin Lewis sat outside in the car, armed with a .22 caliber rifle.
When restaurant employees ran from the restaurant to escape the terror, they were confronted by the armed George Decosta and Alvin Lewis. Alvin Lewis secured a female employee (Barbara Buchanan, who later witnessed Officer Ilyankoff’s execution) in a small utility room at the direction of George Decosta. George Decosta then grabbed another female employee from the parking lot and returned her to the restaurant.
When George Decosta felt the police had been notified he broke a rear window of the restaurant with the .22 caliber rifle and yelled for Alvin Ford and Henry Robinson to leave. George Decosta and Alvin Lewis were fleeing the scene when Henry Robinson ran from the restaurant and jumped into the car. Alvin Ford was left behind.
Officer Walter Ilyankoff, a 15 year veteran Fort Lauderdale Police Officer, responded and arrived within a minute. Officer Ilyankoff was ambushed by Alvin Ford as he walked to the side door of the restaurant. Officer Ilyankoff was shot twice in the abdomen by Alvin Ford and fell to the ground. As Officer Ilyankoff called for help on the radio, Alvin Ford demanded the keys to the officer’s patrol car. After finding the keys, Alvin Ford returned to the fallen officer and executed Officer Ilyankoff by shooting him in the head, killing him. Alvin Ford stole the officer’s service weapon and fled in the patrol car following George Decosta, Alvin Lewis and Henry Robinson in the get-away vehicle.
George Decosta jumped from the get-away car a short distance away because he believed the police were following them. He was taken into custody several hours later after being tracked by a K-9 officer. Alvin Lewis and Alvin Ford were also taken into custody within the next 24 hours. Henry Robinson was arrested in Guatemala under an assumed name 3 months later and returned to the US.
Alvin Ford was found guilty and sentenced to death; he died in prison awaiting execution. Henry Robinson was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. George Decosta and Alvin Lewis were allowed to plead guilty to 2nd Degree Murder in exchange for a LIFE sentence.
Alvin Lewis was given a second chance and granted parole in January 1983. Over the next 8 years Lewis was arrested on 9 different occasions on charges ranging from parole violations to weapons offenses. Again and again he was given every opportunity to successfully complete parole and integrate into society yet he continued his criminal activities. He was ultimately returned to FSP in December 1993 where he remains.
Officer Ilyankoff was survived by his wife and two children.