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Despite attorneys’ arguments about the incredulity of the story, a judge certified charges against two suspected robbers after hearing from their accuser during a preliminary hearing Tuesday.
The 25-year-old man claims Ronnie Terrell Berkley Jr., 20, and Qua’juan Antonio Graves, 19, were armed when they came into his apartment on the second floor in the Station at Norge apartments on Croaker Road and stole an Xbox game console, a Sony Playstation, various video games and DVDs and $40 in cash from him April 3.
He testified in Williamsburg-James City County General District Court the two men — whom he did not know — knocked on his door and asked for his roommate, who was not home.
The man then called his roommate to let them know he had visitors, and when he asked for their names, the two suspects identified themselves as “Brian” and “R.J.”
After hanging up the phone and telling the men his roommate would arrive in 10 minutes, the two pulled out guns — Berkley had a black glock and Graves had a smaller, silver gun, according to the accuser — and asked him, “Where’s your money?”
The man replied he did not have any money, so the two suspects forced him into his bedroom, where they began rummaging through his property, taking $40 from his wallet on the nightstand, the man testified.
The accuser said at one point, Graves walked out of the bedroom while Berkley continued to point his gun at him.
He said Berkley and Graves left after 10 minutes with his and his roommates’ video games systems, video games and DVDs.
The man then walked outside and yelled, “I just got robbed” to a maintenance worker, who he said was nearby and saw two men running down the steps of the apartment.
The man then called his roommate and told him about the incident, and his roommate said he knew the suspects, knew they drove a red car and knew one of them — Berkley — lived on Ivey Hill Road.
He said at one point, he looked out his window and saw a blue pickup truck driving away.
The accuser then called police, and 10 to 15 minutes later, James City County officers arrived and told the accuser they had located two suspects, who were later identified as Berkley and Graves, in a red car on Ivey Hill Road.
Graves’ attorney Ivan Fehrenbach and Berkley’s attorney Leslie Siman-Tov argued it “didn’t make any sense” their clients would do this. Fehrenbach said no items were recovered and the only proof the prosecution has is one man’s testimony.
“I think the story is fishy,” Siman-Tov said. “I think there’s a lot of holes in it.”
Judge Colleen Killilea said despite the inconsistencies in the story, all that was needed for a preliminary hearing — which is held to determine if there is enough evidence to move the case to the grand jury — was identification, and the accuser identified his assailants.
She certified a felony robbery charge and a felony use of a firearm in the commission of a felony charge for each of the men to the grand jury.
A brandishing a firearm charge and a breaking and entering charge were dropped for both of the suspects.