Defense Questions Technical Detail in Armed Robbery Pretrial – Judge Denies

Elena Rawlinson

SAN FRANCISCO, CA– Co-defendants Jorge Espinal Casares and Ernie Figueroa were charged with armed robbery and appeared in San Francisco County Superior Court here Tuesday for their pre-trial hearing. Both were ordered to stand trial after the court heard witnesses.

SFPD Officer Rick Omran told the court he received a report that a robbery had taken place at 1099 Dolores St. around 6:50 am on June 19.

He took the statements of the two victims, Mr. V and Mr. A. Mr. V explained that he and Mr. A were parked in their work vehicle when Mr. V saw a Toyota Rav 4 pull up behind them and park. He then observed that someone was in the bed of his truck trying to take the tool box.

Mr. V stepped out of the car, but as soon as he turned to confront the man in the bed of his truck he was met with a second man holding a gun—which he later described to Omran as a silver revolver—who pointed it at Mr. V’s torso.

The prosecutor asked Omran if Mr. V had disclosed what the tool box contained. Omran confirmed that he had learned what was inside the toolbox, however the defense objected to this question on the grounds of Proposition 115. Prop. 115 pertains to who can and cannot testify during preliminary hearings.

The defense claimed that Omran couldn’t testify to the contents in the toolbox because he wasn’t the owner of the toolbox.

The judge overruled this objection because Omran had learned what was in the toolbox from the owner—Mr. V. The defense clarified that their objection stemmed from the fact that it hadn’t been properly established that Mr. V was the owner of the toolbox—this was again overruled.

Omran said Mr. V had told him the toolbox contained $1,000. He said that when the man with the firearm initially approached Mr. V he didn’t say anything. However, the driver of the Toyota (a third perpetrator) instructed the man with the gun to steal Mr. V’s phone and wallet.

Mr. V, said Omran from his interview with victim, gave the man with the gun his phone but said his wallet didn’t contain any cash and didn’t give it over. The man with the gun then said he would shoot Mr. V if he didn’t give them the passcode to his phone, so Mr. V gave them the passcode. The two men got back in the car with the toolbox and Mr. V’s phone and drove off.

Mr. V recognized Espinal Casares at the cold show as the man with the gun, and he identified Figueroa as the man who had entered the bed of his truck.

The trial is upcoming.

About The Author

Elena Rawlinson is a 12th grader at the Nueva School in San Mateo who is interested in pursuing a career in law. She hopes to improve her communication skills and gain insight into the mechanics of the criminal justice system.

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