by Danielle Eden C. Silva
In Department 14, the preliminary hearing of Rodney Williams began and came to a close on Friday afternoon, the 6th of April. Mr. Williams is being charged with a felony robbery in the second degree, with three enhancements concerning having a previous felony and another enhancement concerning whether a defendant has two or more felony convictions that have been pled and proved.
With Judge Stephen L. Mock presiding in place of Judge David Rosenberg, the prosecution called their witness, who was sworn in and seated.
In April 2016, the witness had been working as a bank teller at the First Northern Bank in Davis. On April 14, 2016, before 4 pm, she had been working with customers when a suspicious man came in.
The witness described him as wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim. On the right side of the man’s face was gauze attached with medical tape. This covered his nose and his entire right cheek. She identified the man as being taller than her, at 5’4”, and that he was taller than 6’0”.
The witness shared she had had training when it came to suspicious individuals in the bank but she had forgotten the training at that moment. As the man approached, she noticed he had a cell phone with a paper over it before she heard him whisper to her.
“This is a robbery. Give me all your money.”
She hesitated and he repeated himself, directing her to give him all the money in her top drawer except for her ones. The denominations she identified handing to him included $100, $50, $20, $10, and $5 bills. After she handed these bills to him, he left. In her testimony, she shared that he had made no gesture to show he had a weapon.
In explaining how the drawers worked, the witness shared that the top drawer had all her loose bills and the bottom drawer had all her bundled up bills. Following this explanation, she identified the witness in court as the one she believed to have committed the offense.
Cross-examination from the defense began with asking if the witness had reviewed the police report, which she claimed she did. The witness had not read that police report before that day. In remembering the events of April 14, 2016, she noted she had talked with her husband about the case but had not watched the surveillance record.
The witness shared she had not seen the man touch the glass of the doors or place his hands on the counter. A police report was read where the witness had stated he had been in his late twenties to early thirties with no facial hair, but she could not recall that at this time. She clarified the man had had white surgical tape on and no tattoos. The tape was in two pieces, one on the top of the cheek and one from the nose to the chin.
Again, the robber had not given any signs of weapons or threats. Additionally, no one else in the courtroom matched the general description the witness gave. She had been shown mugshots which she had chosen from after the robbery.
The prosecution began their questions in redirect by asking how the man had moved. The witness said the robber had leaned in and appeared very sure of himself. In addition, nothing in the police report changed from what she remembered. In her opinion, the witness believes the defendant is the man who approached her.
The witness was dismissed and Judge Mock announced that arraignment would occur on April 20 at 10 am. The defense requested they receive photo I.D. cards and the photo line up, which was granted. The court was then dismissed.
Verdict Returns the Same Day As Closing Statements
by Danielle Eden C. Silva
On Friday, April 6, closing statements were delivered and a verdict decided before the day’s end. Apondo Latrail White was accused of several felonies: the possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, while in possession of an armed and loaded firearm; transportation of a controlled substance, cocaine; possession of a controlled substance, heroin, while in possession of an armed and loaded firearm; transportation of a controlled substance, heroin; and possession of controlled substances for sale. In addition to these felonies, four enhancements were given in regard to his possessing a firearm.
The attorneys and defendant returned to Department 13 before the day was over. The jury found that Mr. White was guilty of all the felonies and enhancements. Following the verdict, Attorney J. Toney polled the jury for individual rulings. All jurors confirmed the guilty verdict.
Following the final dismissal of the jury, Mr. Toney requested that the defendant not be remanded into custody as he is not a flight risk. Judge Paul K. Richardson determined that the defendant should be taken into custody with no bail.