Pre-trial proceedings are set to get underway Wednesday for four men charged in connection with a botched jewelry store heist in San Juan Capistrano that led to the deaths of two suspects.
While none of the defendants is accused of firing the fatal shots, they are still charged with murder under the “provocative act” theory that their actions caused two co-conspirators to be fatally shot, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons.
Attorneys will begin work on pretrial motions Wednesday, with jury selection expected to begin Thursday or Monday, Simmons said.
One of the defendants is expected to testify against the other men under the terms of a plea bargain he struck last year.
George Anthony Boozer, 39, pleaded guilty May 22, 2013, to assault with a semiautomatic firearm and five counts of attempted second-degree robbery, all felonies, which is expected to net him 12 years and four months in prison, Simmons said.
If Boozer does not truthfully testify during the trial, then murder charge will be reinstated, according to Simmons.
The co-defendants are Alan Keith Hunter, 42, of Moreno Valley, James Stephan Paschall, 44, of Gardena, Eddie Allen Clark Jr., 30, of Gardena, and his father, Eddie Allen Clark Sr., 53.
Robert Earl Avery and Desmond Brown, both 39-year-old Los Angeles residents, were fatally wounded June 24, 2011, at Monaco Jewelers at 33955 Doheny Park Road.
Avery was buzzed into the locked store about 11:15 a.m., but he held the door open for Brown and Clark, Simmons said.
Avery left the showroom and went into the work area of the store, where he pulled out a gun and pointed it at the store manager’s head and chest, Simmons said. The store’s owner shot Avery and then shot Brown as he ran toward him, Simmons said.
Avery’s clutching of the manager by the shoulder and holding him at gunpoint were key to the enhanced charges, Simmons said.
Clark ran away and eluded authorities, Simmons said. Hunter and Boozer were the alleged lookouts and Paschall is accused of being the getaway driver, according to the prosecutor.
Investigators linked Boozer and Hunter to the heist through phone records, and DNA evidence allegedly linked Clark and Paschall to the crime, Simmons said.
—City News Service