Plea Expected in Bank Robbery Case — (Mountain News)

SSRI Ed note: Man, 18, on Zoloft and with no criminal history, and his friend rob a bank, are immediately apprehended.

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Mountain News

By Michael P. Neufeld

After weeks of negotiations, a counter plea bargain is scheduled to be presented to Superior Court Judge John Martin next Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. to possibly resolve the case against two Valley of Enchantment teenagers suspected of robbing Vineyard Bank Dec. 1.

Defense attorney Mark Cantrell from Riverside, who is representing 18-year-old Adison James Cayo, indicated he had been working with Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Dawson and attorney James S. Terrell from Victorville to put together a counter plea bargain for his client.

Terrell, who is defending Brian Kevin Haggard, 18, did not return calls requesting a statement about the case.

“It’s in the best interest of all parties, usually, to work out a plea bargain,” said Cantrell, “that is appropriately fashioned to reflect criminal history and the facts of the case. And we’re working towards that goal.

“I’ll contact her (Dawson) ahead of time and set a conference and discuss some options,” Cantrell explained. “Typically, I’ll write a letter to the District Attorney ahead of time setting forth our position and our thoughts on what a fair resolution would be.

“In this particular case,” Cantrell continued, “due to the lack of prior criminal history and the potential that at least a part of the causation here was Cayo’s taking Zoloft, an antidepressant, I believe there is some room for mercy here. He’s never had any problems before of any significance, which I know of, and this was a very aberrational type of action.

“One of the side effects of Zoloft is delusions and hallucinations,” Cayo’s attorney continued, “so I think there is something to be said about that.”

Deputy DA Dawson said, “At the Dec. 13 hearing I made an offer that involved state prison terms for both defendants. I don’t know if they’re countering or what they’re going to do. I don’t remember seeing anything recently from either attorney.

“I don’t have details of my offer in front of me,” Dawson stated. “I’m only going by the summary in my computer and I don’t recall all of the details. When it goes to dispositionary setting it’s not on top on my list and I move on to my next case.

“Once the hearing begins,” Dawson noted, “the judge will call a recess and we’ll go in the back and conference it, but not before 8:30 a.m. The court would wait to see what’s offered by the attorneys before we have the conference.”

Cayo and Haggard are accused of robbing Vineyard Bank in Crestline of an undisclosed amount of cash at 9:05 a.m. Dec. 1. The two men were arrested at 10:10 a.m. without incident after San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers stopped Cayo’s 1987 blue Chevy pickup near Cedar Lane and Knapps Cut Off in Crestline.

A search warrant was served at a Valley of Enchantment mobile home community where Cayo resided. The home is located near the corner of Sierra and Chaparral in the Valley of Enchantment Mobile Home Park. At about 5:30 p.m., investigators emerged from the residence carrying four large evidence bags and a black and gray backpack containing large amounts of cash including a pack of so-called “bait money” put in with the cash by bank employees.

Deputies also searched Haggard’s residence and obtained a warrant to search the Chevy pickup. “We did locate some clothing and additional money in the truck,” Detective Chuck Wyatt reported the day after the robbery.

Cayo and Haggard were booked at the Central Detention Center in San Bernardino shortly after 7 p.m. the day of the robbery and held on $100,000 bail on felony robbery charges. Both men remain in custody.

Charges relating to a bomb threat at Rim of the World High School just minutes before the bank robbery were never filed by the District Attorney’s office. Investigating officers believe the call to the twin peaks Sheriff’s office may have been made from Cayo’s mobile home.

“I don’t recall the threat being in the complaint,” Dawson said, “they were only charged with 211 (robbery).”

Zoloft, a product manufactured by Pfizer, is a member of the class of antidepressants called reuptake inhibitors, a class of drugs used for the treatment of major depression, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Over 115 million Zoloft prescriptions have been written in the United States.

Pfizer warns Zoloft’s side effects include upset stomach, having trouble sleeping, feeling unusually sleepy or tired, tremor, indigestion, sweating, decreased appetite and feeling agitated.