Man convicted in Sierra Tract robbery
Marcus Woodcock was awakened by his rottweiler growling around 3:15 a.m. That’s when the nightmare began.
He was greeted at his bedroom door by guns. A black man with a grim reaper Halloween mask held a handgun and a white man wearing a ski mask was armed with a submachine gun. For the next 30 to 45 minutes Woodcock, 22, and his roommate Russel Bradford, 25, were led from room to room at gunpoint and forced to go through their belongings looking for money and marijuana for the robbers.
Although scared Woodcock felt he knew his captors. He forced himself to be calm and gather details. Minutes after the two masked gunmen left the apartment on Osborne Avenue Woodcock turned to his roommate and said, “I think that was Boo.”
Keith Nolan “Boo” Huntsman, 24, a former acquaintance of Woodcock’s went on trial this week for the May 29 armed robbery, attempted robbery, first degree burglary, conspiracy, and false imprisonment of Woodcock and Bradford.
After two hours and 20 minutes of deliberation Thursday the jury found Huntsman guilty on all charges.
El Dorado County Deputy District Attorney Lisa Serafini said Huntsman is facing a possible maximum sentence of 28 years in a California state prison.
Huntsman’s alleged accomplice and roommate, Jerimiah Hubner, 23, is set for trial on the same charges Aug. 17.
“The whole issue of this case was who did it,” Serafini said. “Defense stipulated that the crimes had been committed. Marcus’ forethought to notice details provided the police with a very detailed description. The swift action of the police in recovering some of the stolen property brought the case together.”
Woodcock testified Tuesday under a grant of immunity by the court. He was granted immunity because part of his testimony included admitting to cultivating and selling marijuana.
Woodcock told the jurors that he knew Huntsman from the age of 13 to 16 and they had spent quite a bit of time together through mutual friends. Both also attended South Tahoe High School at one time. Woodcock hadn’t seen Huntsman for about a year, but he said he recognized Huntsman’s voice, demeanor, and physical shape.
Woodcock said the black gunman referred to him as Mark.
“He’s the only person I’ve ever known to call me Mark,” Woodcock said of Huntsman. “Everyone else calls me Marcus.”
During the second day of testimony Bradford told the court he was so scared during the incident he had trouble breathing.
“I was afraid that if I didn’t do what I was told my health would be in danger,” Bradford said. “I have never been so terrified in my life.”
Before the robbers left the residence both men said they were warned not to call the police.
Prosecutors also presented evidence recovered from Huntsman’s apartment on Alma Avenue, about a two-minute walk from the victim’s residence. Woodcock told the court that the Sony Playstation taken from his place had a unique crack on one of the controllers – a controller he had borrowed from his brother. A Sony Playstation with the same mark was found at Huntsman’s. Woodcock said some New Zealand and Canadian coins were taken during the robbery. The same type of coins were recovered from Alma Avenue.
The prosecution also set up a time schedule through witnesses and evidence that gave Huntsman a window of opportunity to commit the crime. Huntsman’s roommate testified that he saw Huntsman and Hubner leave the Lakeside Inn and Casino together around 2 a.m. Huntsman told police he was with Hubner all night and went grocery shopping at Lucky’s in the morning. A Lucky’s receipt was found placing Huntsman at the grocery store around 6 a.m. giving him plenty of time to commit the crime and dispose of any incriminating evidence, the prosecution argued.
The defense presented no witnesses, but argued that Woodcock wasn’t positive in his identification of Huntsman pointing out that Woodcock discussed other suspects during his police interviews. In closing arguments, Huntsman’s defense attorney, Lori London said the prosecution had failed to provide a motive. She also noted that police never recovered the guns, or masks used in the robbery.
Huntsman’s sentencing was set for Sept. 3 at 1:30 p.m. The court ordered that he be held without bail until sentencing.
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