Judge rules some evidence to be suppressed in Grass Valley home invasion robbery
A Nevada County judge, after a second preliminary hearing of the evidence, ruled Thursday that the detention of two of the four defendants following a home invasion robbery was illegal. Evidence found in their vehicle, as well as identification by the victim at the scene of their arrest, will not be allowed at trial.
But Deputy District Attorney Cambria Lisonbee said she intends to proceed to trial with the charges against all four men in connection with the Nov. 27, 2018, marijuana rip-off in Grass Valley.
Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger found enough evidence to advance the cases of Alton E. Edmondson, 38, of Grayson, Georgia; Christopher Brandon Mapp, 29, of Antelope; Giovannie S. Morrison, 37, of Roseville; and Lorne Leroy Scott, 31, of New York City, to trial. The men face charges of home invasion robbery and assault with a semi-automatic firearm.
The four men allegedly tied up people at a Pleasant Street residence before robbing them of 97 pounds of suspected marijuana. After the four men fled, the resident freed herself and contacted police, according to her testimony in court Tuesday.
The issue with the arrest of Morrison and Edmondson off Highway 49 in Auburn was the fact that they were in a vehicle whose description did not match the be-on-the-lookout advisory issued by the Grass Valley Police Department. Moments before, Mapp and Scott had been pulled over and detained in a silver sedan that did match the suspect vehicle description.
Defense counsel had argued there was no legal basis for the traffic stop of the second car and the warrantless search of their vehicle.
Heidelberger agreed, granting the motion to suppress evidence for Morrison and Edmondson only.
The prosecution failed to establish facts to support their detention, Heidelberger said.
They were in the process of backing out of a parking space, getting ready to leave the parking lot, when a Placer County Sheriff’s deputy “acted on an intuition they might somehow be involved,” the judge said, adding that their detention was not based on a reasonable suspicion given the vague description of the suspects. A “hunch” is an unlawful reason, even if the deputy was acting in good faith.
All four defendants are set to be arraigned on Dec. 2 and remain in the Nevada County Jail under $500,000 in bond each.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.
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