3 Defendants Sentenced for Grocery Snatch and Run Robbery


By Hongyi Wen

SACRAMENTO, CA – Judge Kevin McCormick had a busy Friday here in Sacramento County Superior Court—three sentencing hearings in a row dealt with the same robbery case.

The judge ruled that two of the defendants will have suspended felony sentences and two years of formal probation and the other one will serve time in custody for a felony.

Defendants Anisah Smith, Amir Moore, and Tyshai Washington participated in a grocery store robbery on Jan. 7, 2020, and participated in taking merchandise without paying. After an altercation with the security guard who tried to stop them, one of the defendants allegedly sprayed the security guard with Mace.

The defendants fled the scene with unpaid merchandise, and were apprehended by police officers the next day.

The first defendant was Anisah Smith, who appeared remotely. Deputy District Attorney Saron Tesfai provided Judge Kevin McCormick with the factual basis of this incident, based on the police report.

“Ms. Smith along with multiple co-defendants and another person went into the FoodMax store. It has been an ongoing issue that they go into the store and take merchandise and walk out without paying,” he said.

Tesfai continued, “On this occasion…one of the security guards went to the front of the store to try to stop them for the return of the merchandise,” adding “Ms. Smith was the one carrying the merchandise and her co-defendant Mr. Moore walked up to the security guard and shoulder checked him and pushed him as he walked out.

“Ms. Smith walked out behind him. They went to their vehicle, the security guard followed after them in order to get a picture of the license plate…her co-defendant Washington sprayed the security guard with Mace. After that, her other co-defendant Moore sprayed the security guard with Mace as well,” Tesfai noted.

Despite having some background noises when Judge McCormick sentenced Smith to a felony “aiding and abetting” charge, Smith will serve no jail time and agreed to be on formal probation for two years.

The second defendant, Amir Moore, also appeared remotely, and DDA Saron Tesfai started reiterating the factual basis for the case.

As seen on the Sacramento Superior Court Department 15 YouTube Live Stream, both Moore and his defense attorney Alan Donato started shaking their heads in disapproval about what DDA Tesfai was saying.

Donato interpreted and said, “Your honor I apologize. I know this has not been shown in previous cases. My client never went into the FoodMax, he stayed in the car the whole time.”

Moore also seemed frustrated and started to speak over on the Zoom call, which caused the audio to be inaudible. Judge McCormick smiled and said, “Hang on, hang on.”

Donato continued, “Mr. Moore I got it. And that was confirmed by the surveillance video, that was a huge part of why the PC 32 (aiding and abetting a felony) was appropriate. There was also allegation that Mr. Moore had in some way sprayed the [victim] with OC spray. Which again we showed through our defense investigation was not the case, either.”

Penal Code section 32 refers to a defendant who harbors, conceals, or aids someone else with knowledge that this other person committed a felony, and does so in order to protect the other person from arrest, trial, conviction, or sentencing.

After Donato’s statement, Judge McCormick said, “Why don’t I do this, Mr. Donato, can you state the factual basis for me for the PC 32. Perhaps it was a getaway driver or something like that?”

Donato began, “Yes, so Mr. Moore’s co-defendants entered the store. Mr. Moore never left the car, but when the law prevention officer came out and tried to confront them, Mr. Moore also had words with that law prevention officer. And in that way [he] did aid in the getaway, although he was not a getaway driver.”

“Again, he did not aid in any taking or the alleged assault, he was just part of them leaving the scene. He was not the driver, he did not participate in the taking or the assault, so that would be the factual basis for the PC 32,” said defense attorney Donato.

Tesfai stipulated to Donato’s statement and apologized, “My apologies for any confusion.”

McCormick smiled and reassured Tesfai, “That’s ok. You are brand new. I think you started on Monday if my memory is correct. So welcome again, glad to have you.”

Moore also entered a guilty plea to a felony, PC section 32. Initially Moore will be required to be on two years of formal probation and serve up 180 days in custody, but he can serve that time on the Sheriff’s Work Project.

The third and last defendant was Tyshai Washington, and she appeared in court in custody. Washington is also entering a no contest plea.

As Tesfai pointed out, on the day of the incident Washington was outside of the Food Maxx grocery store while her co-defendants were in the store.

He said, “Ms. Washington was outside of the store. However, when the law prevention officer approached the vehicle and attempted to get a picture of the license plate she confronted him.

“There was an altercation, and ultimately she sprayed him with a can of Mace. Both Ms. Washington and her co-defendants were able to flee the scene with the properties,” Tesfai concluded.

Judge also heard from Deputy District Attorney Courtney Martin who laid out the factual basis for Washington’s other case, which involved a felony violation pimping or pandering.

Washington, with her two other cases, will serve four years in custody, with charges ranging from assault in this case, to pimping/pandering, domestic violence, aggravated assault and assault with a deadly weapon, all felonies.

All three defendants will have their final sentencing and probation hearing on May 5, in Sacramento Superior Court Department 15.

Hongyi Wen is a junior at UC Santa Cruz, majoring in Sociology. He is from Guangzhou, China.

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