Torrance burglars to be retried for 1 of 2 hung counts

first_imgTorrance Superior Court Judge James Brandlin decided prosecutors could not proceed on the charge that resulted in the 8-4 vote for not guilty, but said they can retry the trio on the other hung count. He also left open the possibility that they can present evidence that the crimes were gang-related, according to Deputy District Attorney Steve Schreiner. The defendants are to appear in court again today for a scheduling conference, but Brandlin sent the case to another judge without explanation, Schreiner said. Citing time constraints at the end of the three-week trial, Brandlin made a deal with the defendants that, in exchange for their admitting their prior criminal records without a hearing, he would drop allegations that the crimes benefitted a street gang. Prosecutors protested, arguing that the state Legislature had the community’s safety in mind when it enacted the law that calls for an additional five years in prison for gang-related crimes. Stephens, 21, was sentenced to 13 years in state prison and White, 26, got six years. The conviction was a third strike for Farmer, 26, who received 30 years to life in prison. After the three were sentenced Aug. 21, Brandlin indicated he favored dismissing the two hung counts. Schreiner argued they should stand trial for the attempted burglaries, calling them “hard-core criminals” who should face as much time in prison as possible. The three men were spotted driving slowly through Torrance on May 23, 2005. The car stopped and one, identified by a witness as Stephens, got out of the car and approached a home on Dorman Avenue. Then he returned to the car. A witness followed the group and later saw a man he identified as White repeat the same action at a home on Manhattan Avenue. Those were the two attempted burglaries that the jury deadlocked on 11-1 in favor of guilt and 8-4 in favor of acquittal. Police later pulled the men over and found two guns, jewelry, gloves, money and a pillowcase inside their rental car. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Denise Nix STAFF WRITER A judge who prohibited prosecutors from seeking gang convictions against three Torrance burglars said Wednesday he will allow a retrial for one of two unsettled attempted burglary counts. Rodney Stephens, Andre White and Kenneth Farmer were convicted in June of burglary, but the jury hung 8-4 in favor of acquittal and 11-1 in favor of guilt on the attempted burglary charges. last_img read more