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Sierra Tract robbery suspect blames partner

Christina Proctor

Jeremiah Hubner told the jury he was forced to pick up a submachine gun and help Keith Huntsman rob two people. They didn’t believe him.

After an hour and 45 minutes of deliberation Thursday, the jury returned six guilty verdicts against Hubner.

Hubner, 24, was on trial this week for the May 29 armed robbery, attempted robbery, first degree burglary, conspiracy and false imprisonment of Marcus Woodcock and Russel Bradford.

The question of whether Hubner entered the victims’ apartment on Osborne Avenue dressed in black clothing and masked, carrying a gun was never disputed. The defense argued that he was there under duress and only because Huntsman threatened his life and his girlfriend’s.

Huntsman was convicted in a separate trial Aug. 6.

Both victims testified that the two masked gunman awoke them around 3:15 a.m. and forced them to go through their rooms and apartment looking for money and marijuana. Bradford told the court that he was terrified throughout the incident.

“There was no doubt in my mind that my life was in danger,” Bradford said.

Bradford also recounted how he was ordered at gunpoint to disrobe and lie on the floor.

“He said, ‘I’m going to make you feel stupid now,'” Bradford said of the robber’s instructions.

The victims were ordered to stay in Bradford’s bedroom and not to call the police while they left. Bradford got dressed and walked down the street to his brother’s house, where he called the police.

“I was afraid to even be in my own home at that point,” Bradford said.

Woodcock testified 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 attended school and had prior acquaintances with both Hubner and Huntsman. He said he recognized Huntsman’s voice, demeanor and physical shape. Hubner didn’t speak throughout the robbery, but Woodcock later told police that he believed the white man involved was Hubner. Both were arrested later in the day on May 29 after a search of their Alma Avenue residence uncovered several items taken during the robbery.

The prosecution presented a taped video confession by Hubner given on May 29. When questioned about his motive, Hubner said he did it because his girlfriend needed money to pay her rent.

Hubner told a different version when he took the stand Wednesday morning. He told the court that on the night of the robbery Huntsman pointed a gun at his head and told him they were going to go rob somebody.

“I said I didn’t want to, and he put the gun to me and said he wasn’t (expletive) with me,” Hubner said.

Hubner said he “felt bad” about the robbery, breaking up as he talked about the fear of the victims and forcing Bradford to disrobe.

“I felt sick, scared. I figured he went way past anything someone should do to anyone else,” Hubner said referring to Huntsman’s actions.

Hubner said Huntsman gave him a timeline to tell police when questioned and again threatened his and his girlfriend’s life if he told the truth.

When first questioned by police on the day of the robbery Hubner denied any involvement. After talking to his mother he came back to detectives and gave his confession. On Wednesday, Hubner told the jury that he didn’t tell police about the threats on his life because he didn’t want to anger Huntsman.

The prosecution pointed out that Hubner was aware he was implicating Huntsman in the commission of four serious felonies when he confessed.

“Did you really believe Huntsman would be less upset by you implicating in one more serious felony?” Deputy District Attorney Lisa Serafini asked.

“I knew he’d find out one way or another what I told them,” Hubner said. “But, I tried to put as much blame on me as him. I thought that would help me on the inside.”

Hubner’s sentencing is Oct. 1. He is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in a California state prison.

Shortly after the jury was excused, Huntsman, 24, faced his own sentencing. El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Jerald Lasarow gave Huntsman the maximum sentence of 20 years for his crimes. Under law, Huntsman will have to serve 85 percent of that sentence before he is eligible for parole.

“This is outrageous and quite candidly despicable conduct,” Lasarow said. “In your statement you said you didn’t do this, that someone else is responsible. Mr. Huntsman as far as I’m concerned you are a liar … On May 29 you made a drastic choice and it was the wrong one.”

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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