By Lizet Gonzalez, Aishwarya Rajan, and Yevangelina Poghosyan
SACRAMENTO, CA It was a long, long preliminary hearing this past Wednesday in Sacramento County Superior Court, and Judge Ernest W. Sawtelle was in a mood, facing the prospect of six testimonies from different eyewitnesses accounts of a robbery last July 31.
I dont need the anticipation, I just need identification, said the judge in the Tyriece Washington, Sr., and Tyriece Washington, Jr. case, the father-son duo accused of robbing a City of Trees marijuana dispensary in Sacramento.
Defendant Tyriece Washington, Jr., the son, was joined by counsel Stephen Nelson. His father, Tyriece Washington, Sr., was being held in custody with attorney Mike Wise present via Zoom for his defense.
To begin the three-hour preliminary hearing, Deputy District Attorney Adrianne McMillan called police officer Logan Howard to the stand. He had taken the statement of the male victim/employee of the distribution center.
While in his office, the alleged victim said he heard a noise and initially thought it was an expected pickup service, until he had a gun shoved in his face. According to the victim, the individual wielding the gun was a six-foot-tall, 30-year-old, Black male wearing a sweatshirt that read Backwards.
It was later explained by Officer Howard that the victim relayed there was approximately $10,000 in a safe, to which the suspect responded lets go before being led to the cash.
He (the victim) said he did it without asking because he thought he was going to get shot said Officer Howard. The victim and initial suspect were then joined by another man. This suspect was allegedly Tyriece Washington, Sr.
The male victim described the second suspect as a Black male adult of a heavy build who was approximately six feet tall with a snake tattoo on his arm. He wore a white short sleeve shirt with grey boxers and a black cloth over his face.
Officer Howard re-emphasized that the suspect who wore the white short sleeves was the only suspect of the three who was not carrying a firearm. His responsibilities during the incident consisted of driving the car and loading the stolen property.This suspect allegedly stole $12,000 from the victims safe, and an additional $4,000 worth or more of marijuana.
The surveillance videos said Howard provided an accurate description of the incident. It further showed that the suspects drove a dark-colored, four-door sedan, later confirmed to be a Nissan Armada, with a dent on the rear passenger side window.
Officer Jennifer Flure had questioned the female victim, also present during the theft. From the statements recorded by Officer Flure, the victims demeanor appeared to be panicked and frantic but able to thoroughly relay her statement.
The victim claimed to have been inside of a separate portable office, partaking in her administrative duties when a male Black adult, about 22 to 25 years old, and a thin build went inside of her portable, and pointed a black Glock 45 at her, as stated by Officer Flure.
Officer Flure also included that at the time initially, the gun itself was not what put her in fear but it was mainly the fact that at the end he asked her to get on the groundshe thought he may have wanted to shoot her.
According to the victim, if she were to hear his voice again, there was no doubt that shed recognize it due to the sympathetic nature he had. This was because after he had taken the keys (which unlocked the building holding the lock), he was mindful enough to give her back her house key, relayed Officer Flure.
The relatively fast robbery which took about 10 minutes as the victim claimed, resulted in the loss of an additional six trashbags of marijuana stems.
With the conclusion of cross-examinations, Judge Sawtelle snapped, Ive got a picture enough, to prosecutor McMillans attempt to include four additional witnesses.
He expressed that a total of six witnesses was unnecessary, and responded with youve satisfied the elements of the crime, I just need to know who did it.
With this, DDA McMillan conceded and called on Detective Phillip Monelo, the lead detective on the case to identify the suspects.
As uncovered during the direct examination of Detective Monelo, a female named Shanine Washington appeared to be associated with both defendantsshe was the sister of the younger Washington.
Upon this evidentiary information, Detective Monelo reviewed Washingtons Facebook account and verified her identity by comparing her profile pictures with DMV photos and jail booking photos.He also observed the next day after the robbery, Ms. Washington posted marijuana for sale on her Facebook profile.
With this additional information, Officer Monelo attempted to identify the suspects of the armed robbery. One image on her page included Tyriece Washington, Sr., and on his arm were two highway symbol tattoos.
In identifying the suspect who was allegedly Tyriece Washington, Jr., one of the suspects with a gun, Officer Monelo found that he was on probation.
With this information, Monelo tracked the data from the suspects GPS ankle monitor and found that the suspect had been at the scene of the crime during hours before, during, and after the armed robbery.
Based on the data of the GPS ankle monitor it showed him leave the scene of the crime and go to Ms. Washingtons address in Fairfield, said the officer. During a probation search, around seven thousand dollars of cash, numerous pounds of marijuana, as well as a green tag were found at the residence.
A green tag was a key marker that confirmed the marijuana was stolen property, seeing as the City of Trees clips each bag with a green tag.
The male victim, in a photo lineup, identified three people that looked potentially like the suspect, claimed Officer Monelo. Tyriece Washington, Sr., was included in the group that was most recognizable as the suspect.
Defense attorney Wise conjectured, Basically, half of those photographs looked similar to the suspect, to which Officer Monelo agreed.
Wise asked, Other than the relationship with Mr. Washington, Sr., his son and his sister, did you find any other evidence that Mr. Washington, Sr., was present that night?
Officer Monelo stated that the evidence of white Nike athletic shoes, which were also posted in his Facebook profile, was the only direct link they had connecting Washington, Sr., to the crime.
During closing arguments defense counsel Wise claimed that identification in this case as it relates to Mr. Washington, Sr., is weaker.
While the male victim claimed that the suspect who was allegedly Mr. Washington, Sr., had a snake tattoo, Detective Moreno confirmed that the suspect had two tattoos of a highway symbol.
Attorney Wise stated that his only connection to the crime was due to his relationship to his sonand also his sons relationship to Shanine Washington who is the sons sister.
He further elicited that there was no large sum of marijuana or cash that corroborates his part in the robbery, and thus there is inadequate evidence indicating at all that he took part in this incident.
With these closing remarks, Judge Sawtelle found probable cause for the crime committed by both parties.
Tyriece Washington, Sr., and Tyriece Washington, Jr., agreed to enter a general time waiver for a jury trial, and date is yet to be determined.
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