After a series of delays, a preliminary hearing wrapped up Wednesday for three suspects accused of a Canyon Country bank robbery in December.
Phillip Ely, Lavelle Mosley and Terion Collins, all of Los Angeles, are accused of seven felony counts, including second degree robbery, kidnapping to commit another crime, unlawfully taking a vehicle and evading an officer against traffic, according to a criminal complaint.
On Wednesday, officials listened to testimony from LAPD officer Robert Smith, who is from the same area as the suspects and has two brothers who are in the Rolling 40s Crips.
The suspects are accused of helping to further Rolling 40s Crips activity with the robbery, a special allegation that lengthens a potential sentence, said Deputy District Attorney Moira Curry.
“I’ve charged them with the fact that the robbery was being used to advance a criminal street gang, and I prove that allegation through an expert who’s someone from the (South Central) 77th Division of the LAPD,” Curry said.
The arrests in the case were made by the Sheriff’s Department because the crime occurred in the deputy’s jurisdiction, but Smith is considered an expert on the gang, because he’s so familiar with the territory, Curry said.
Local deputies who arrested the suspects identified them from the stand Tuesday.
If convicted, all three suspects are facing indeterminate life sentences because there is a kidnapping charge associated with the bank robbery. A man was taken back to the bank vault against his will, which is where the kidnapping charge comes from, Curry said.
Even the driver is eligible for the kidnapping charge because of his association with the crime.
Even without that charge though, due to their past records, Collins is facing a maximum of 42 years, and Ely and Mosley are facing at least 20-plus years, she said.
The defense has not approached Curry for a plea deal, and one has not been offered, she said.
The case is expected to be continued within 15 calendar days.