By Sahaily Zazueta
MODESTO, CA- Four co-defendants appeared for a pre-trial hearing in Stanislaus County Superior Court Friday on robbery and weapons charges—Ernest Dubose, Jr., 21; Isaiah Beard, 19; Sebastian Gutierrez, 19; and Antony Sandoval, 22, were arrested on April 5 on suspicion of robbing a gas station in Modesto at gunpoint.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office stated a Texaco gas station at 937 Paradise Road was robbed by four masked and armed suspects around 1:40 a.m. One suspect, authorities said, pointed a gun at the cashier. The suspects took an undisclosed amount of money and fled in a dark-colored, lifted pickup truck.
The court was informed that a truck matching that description was later spotted within 10 minutes of the robbery by a deputy about half a mile away, near Chicago and Sutter Avenues. All four suspects were arrested after a “high-risk traffic enforcement stop,” the sheriff’s department reported.
Through interviews with the suspects, deputies learned they had tossed a firearm used during the robbery into a nearby flooded drainage ditch. Firefighters were able to vacuum out the water and help deputies retrieve the weapon—a “ghost” gun with an illegal extended ammunition magazine.
The term “ghost gun” refers to weapons that are assembled from parts purchased online and have no serial number or other traceable characteristics.
The four suspects were charged with felonies and are being held in Stanislaus County Jail, each with a $550,000 bail.
Deputy Public Defender Clifford Tong declared a conflict in one of Gutierrez’s cases. DPD Tong was relieved, and private defense attorney Naramsen Goriel from the Law Offices of Aaron Villalobos was appointed to represent Gutierrez.
The other three defendants were also appointed private defense attorneys. Attorney Denise Hankins from the Law Office of Martin Baker was appointed to represent Sandoval, Beard will be represented by Rebecka Monez, and Dubose will be represented by Richard Meyer.
Deputy District Attorney Tracy Griffin indicated to the court that all discovery except for one item has been provided. Judge Dawna Reeves instructed DDA Griffin that any offers should be communicated in advance of the next pretrial hearing.
If the matters cannot be resolved at the next hearing, a date will be set for preliminary hearing. All four accused waived time in their cases.
The accused are scheduled to appear back in court May 31 for one pretrial hearing to see if the matters can be settled. Dubose will also appear on April 26 for an additional bail review hearing.