Case against teen accomplice in robberies designated a complex case
A Yuma County Superior Court judge on Thursday designated the case against a Yuma teen charged in connection to a recent string of armed robberies as a complex case.
In asking for the designation, attorney Victoria Thompson, who represents 16-year-old Richard Limones, provided the court with numerous why she believes the case against her client should be declared a complex case, including the seriousness of the charges and the range of the sentences in each of the offenses - some of which are prison-mandatory.
Thompson also informed the court that there are 18 audio and video recordings that have to be reviewed and that there are a number of potential witnesses that will need to be interviewed. There are also numerous phone records and text messages that will need to be gone through.
Other concerns Thompson expressed were the young age of her client and that she will be waiting for fingerprint and DNA analysis of evidence in the case.
After asking the prosecution if it objected to the designation, which it did not, Superior Court Judge Larry Kenworthy, who is presiding over the case, granted Thompson's request. He also ordered the case be sent to the presiding judge to assign the case to a different judge who will oversee the case until it is ready to be resolved.
A complex case designation adds 90 to 120 days (depending on if the defendant is in custody or out of custody) to the total maximum amount of time that the prosecutor has to bring the case to trial.
Normally the prosecution has 150 days from the time of the arraignment to take a case to trial. A complex case designation, however, extends that time to 270 days.
Limones has been charged with 18 felony offenses, including multiple charges of aggravated assault, armed robbery and attempted armed robbery. He was arrested in July, along with 42-year-old Dennis Aguerro, after being stopped by police for allegedly following a woman from her workplace with the intention of robbing her.
According to Yuma police, shortly before midnight on July 17, a woman employed in the 1300 block of South 4th Avenue closed the business and began driving home. She reportedly became aware that she was being tailed by a white Dodge Charger, and called 911 at about 11:47 p.m.
Officers began searching for the vehicle, which was located in the 3100 block of 4th Avenue. After the driver of the Charger pulled over in compliance with a police traffic stop, officers spoke with Aguerro and the teen, and reportedly gained verbal consent to search the vehicle.
During their search, officers allegedly found a shotgun, a black ski mask and rubber gloves inside the vehicle.
Limones and Aguerro were arrested and taken to police headquarters for questioning.
During their interviews, the two were questioned about five unsolved armed robberies spanning from April 23 to May 28.
The first robbery the two are suspected in happened April 23 at Tacos Mi Rancho, 188 S. 4th Ave. About 9:30 p.m., a male armed with a small handgun attempted to enter the restaurant through a side door, but was frightened off by an employee. The person was last seen running on foot westbound on 2nd Street from the business. He did not enter the business, and no money was taken.
At about 9:55 p.m. the same night, a male armed with a shotgun and wearing a black ski mask and a black long-sleeved sweatshirt entered CMS Market, at 2090 W. 8th St., and demanded money and a bottle of alcohol from the clerks. After taking the money, the robber fled on foot.
Witnesses on site said the robber was accompanied by a second person who remained outside the store during the robbery.
Then at about 10:33 p.m., a male armed with a shotgun and wearing a black ski mask and a black long-sleeved sweatshirt entered R.C. Liquor, 101 E. 24th St., and demanded money and a bottle of alcohol from the clerks. After being given money, the robber fled on foot.
Detectives also believe Limones and Aguerro are connected with two other armed robberies – one on May 7th at 4th Avenue Liquor, 1111 S. 4th Ave., and the second on May 28 at Eighth Street Drive-In Liquor, 1100 W. 8th St.