Second trial starts for Grass Valley T-Mobile robbery suspect |

Second trial starts for Grass Valley T-Mobile robbery suspect

The question remained the same as the re-trial of a robbery suspect got underway Wednesday in Nevada County Superior Court.

When Brian Mack allegedly ran into the Grass Valley T-Mobile store on the heels of three other men, scooped a cell phone off the floor and raced back out, was that a simple theft — or robbery by force or fear?

Brian Mack

Mack’s first trial in November ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked 11 to 1 during deliberations.

Four men, including Mack, allegedly robbed the Nevada County Highway store on Nov. 15, 2018, and fled in a Jeep. The other defendants accepted plea agreements, while Mack, 21, opted to go to trial on two counts of second-degree robbery.

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Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Cambria Lisonbee noted in an earlier hearing that Mack faces a maximum of 17 years if he is convicted on both counts. He previously refused offers of six years in state prison in return for a plea to one count of robbery, or seven years and four months for two counts of grand theft, Lisonbee said.

In her opening statement Wednesday, Lisonbee covered much of the same ground in Mack’s first trial. She argued that the men’s “abrupt” entrance while wearing hoodies cinched around their faces and then ripping phones off the wall did produce the element of fear necessary for a conviction of robbery.

Lisonbee told the jury that employee Christian Jewell was terrified, too scared to move even a foot or two to reach the silent alarm.

Mack’s defense attorney, Stephen Munkelt, showed surveillance video clips to demonstrate how quickly the incident unfolded. Not only was no force used, he argued, there was no intent to use fear to accomplish the theft.

The trial will resume this morning with closing arguments. Mack remained in custody Wednesday on a $200,000 bond.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4236.

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