After months of delays, three suspects in a Canyon Country bank robbery will begin their trial later this month, a deputy district attorney said Monday.
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“We have to go through motions and make sure everyone’s on board, and then we’ll start selecting the jury (Sept. 25)” said Moira Curry, deputy district attorney.
Phillip Ely, Lavelle Mosley and Terion Collins, all of Los Angeles, are accused of seven felony counts, including second degree robbery, kidnapping to commit another crime, unlawfully taking a vehicle and evading an officer against traffic, according to a criminal complaint.
A plea deal was “offered and rejected,” Curry said, declining to mention the specifics of the deal.
The three are accused of robbing a bank and then driving to downtown Los Angeles, where they threw money out the window, drawing a crowd and brief attention from media outlets throughout Southern California.
The suspects are accused of helping to further Rolling 40s Crips activity with the robbery, a special allegation that lengthens a potential sentence, said Deputy District Attorney Moira Curry.
Testimony from LAPD officer Robert Smith, who is from the same area as the suspects and has two brothers who are in the Rolling 40s Crips, provided the link for the prosecution at the suspects’ preliminary hearing.
“I’ve charged them with the fact that the robbery was being used to advance a criminal street gang, and I prove that allegation through an expert who’s someone from the (South Central) 77th Division of the LAPD,” Curry said.
The arrests in the case were made by the Sheriff’s Department because the crime occurred in deputies’ jurisdiction, but Smith is considered an expert on the gang because he’s so familiar with the territory, Curry said.
Local deputies who arrested the suspects identified them from the stand Tuesday.
If convicted, all three suspects are facing indeterminate life sentences because there is a kidnapping charge associated with the bank robbery. A man was taken back to the bank vault against his will, which is where the kidnapping charge comes from, Curry said.
Even the driver is eligible for the kidnapping charge because of his association with the crime, Curry said.
Even without that charge though, due to their past records, Collins is facing a maximum of 42 years, and Ely and Mosley are facing at least 20-plus years, she said.
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Source: Santa Clarita News