By Ally Cline
SACRAMENTO – On April 21, the Sacramento County Superior Court found that the prosecution presented enough evidence to move to a trial for two individuals charged with the robbery of a Grocery Outlet store.
On Sept. 30, 2019, Jonathan Wallace and Lamont Beamon allegedly entered a Grocery Outlet Bargain Market at the 6400 block of Riverside Blvd., Sacramento, and were seen taking items and hiding them under their clothes, apparently with the intention to steal. The two subjects were approached by the store owner, Richard Weirzbicki, who asked them to return the items and exit the store. The defendants ignored the store owner and walked out of the store with the stolen property.
Once out of the store, Mr. Wallace walked to his vehicle while Mr. Beamon was confronted by Mr. Weirzbicki. Mr. Weirzbicki recorded the confrontation, where it is seen that Mr. Beamon tried to either “grab” or “knock” the phone out of his hands. In the video it is also seen how Mr. Weirzbicki pulled out pepper spray warning Mr. Beamon to back up or else he would pepper spray him. Mr. Beamon replied by stating that if Mr. Weirzbicki did pepper spray him, that he would “pop” him or “shoot” him while making a gesture as if he had a gun in his pocket. Mr. Wallace pulled up in his vehicle next to Mr. Beamon and Mr. Weirzbicki, Mr. Beamon entered the vehicle and the two drove off.
Mr. Wallace and Mr. Beamon were later detained.
The prosecution is charging Mr. Beamon with 2nd-degree felony robbery and a count of criminal threat for threatening to “shoot” or “pop” Mr. Weirzbicki outside of the market. He is also being charged with attempted robbery for trying to take Mr. Weirzbicki’s cell phone.
Mr. Wallace is also being charged with 2nd-degree felony robbery for aiding and abetting in the robbery with Mr. Beamon because he drove the car in which the two drove off.
During the preliminary hearing, the prosecution called two witnesses, Office Nalee Moua and Detective Barret of the Sacramento Police Department, both of whom responded to the robbery. The prosecution asked questions that elaborated on the events of the day of the robbery. The two witnesses were also asked questions regarding the cell phone recording by Mr. Weirzbicki.
The defense for Mr. Wallace and Mr. Beamon cross-examined the witnesses to clarify the confrontation between Mr. Beamon and Mr. Weirzbicki.
Once testimony of both witnesses was given, the judge asked all counsel if they had any final arguments or wanted to contest any of the charges of the prosecution.
Mr. Beamon’s counsel argued that there was not enough evidence to charge his client with attempted robbery of Mr. Weirzbicki’s cell phone as it was not clearly established whether Mr. Beamon attempted to take Mr. Weirzbeicki’s cell phone.
The counsel stated that it was speculated that Mr. Beamon was trying to take Mr. Weirzbicki’s cell phone and explained that because there is only the description of the victim stating that Mr. Beamon was trying to “hit” and “grab” the cell phone and not necessarily deprive him of its possession, that it cannot be established that Mr. Beamon was trying to take his cell phone.
Counsel for Mr. Beamon also argued that the threat of “shooting” or “popping” against Mr. Weirzbicki was conditional and did not constitute a criminal threat because it was contingent on Mr. Weirzbicki pepper-spraying Mr. Beamon.
Mr. Beamon’s counsel also argued that there was no force or threat when it came to the robbery because if Mr. Weirzbicki had not followed Mr. Wallace and Mr. Beamon, the two would have gotten away anyway with the stolen property, so there is no reason to call the crime a robbery. The defense counsel stated that this was simply theft.
Counsel for Mr. Wallace argued that there was not enough evidence to charge Mr. Wallace with aiding and abetting in the robbery, as he was not physically present when Mr. Weirzbicki engaged Mr. Beamon and therefore was not aware of the conversation or that there was any type of threat or fear used against Mr. Weirzbicki.
The judge found that there were sufficient evidence and probable cause to find the defendants guilty. The defendants waived their right to a formal arraignment and entered “not guilty” pleas for all counts.
The judge set a trial date for June 11.
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