The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 18, 2013

2 robbery suspects send cases to court

3rd man’s hearing postponed

JOHNSTOWN — Two 17-year-old boys charged in connection with an armed robbery at a Johnstown apartment complex will appear in Cambria County court.

City police accused Kareem Brandon, Albert V. Young Jr. and Emerie D. Moore, 22, all of Johnstown, of robbing a boy at Joseph Johns Towers on Market Street on June 5. The three face robbery and related charges.

Brandon and Young, both city residents, waived their right to a preliminary hearing Thursday before District Judge Michael Musulin of Johns­town.

They were freed on bond.

Moore’s case was postponed because the alleged victim was unable to appear in court. Moore is being held at the Cambria County Prison.

A criminal complaint filed by police said the boy told officers he was home alone watching television when he heard a knock at the door around

9:30 p.m. and saw it was his neighbor Brandon. When the boy opened the door, Brandon, Young and a third male later identified as Moore forced their way insid, police said.

One of the robbers allegedly threw the boy onto the couch and hit him in the head before pulling out a black semi-automatic handgun and threatening to shoot him, city police Sgt. Michael Plunkard said after the hearing.

“We believed Mr. Moore possessed the gun,” Assistant District Attorney Beth Bolton Penna said after the hearing.

Moore has a previous felony conviction in Florida.

“The district attorney’s office is taking a strong stance when it comes to guns, especially felons who are not allowed to posses firearms,” Bolton Penna said.

Police are still searching for the weapon.

The robbers allegedly ransacked the apartment and made off with a Samsung Galaxy 2 tablet computer and a wallet containing about $400.

Police used surveillance video to identify the suspects.

Public defender Maribeth Schaffer represented Young on Thursday.  

Brandon’s court-appointed attorney, Kevin Rozich, is seeking to have his case moved to juvenile court.

“Rather than continue the case and have my client stay in jail, we agreed to waive it up (to county court) in exchange for ROR (released on own recognizance) bond,” Rozich said. “This will permit me to file a petition with the court to have the matter remanded back to juvenile court.”

Bolton Penna asked the judge to postpone the hearing for Moore because the alleged victim was unable to attend.

“The victim had appeared at a prior hearing but the defendants did not have attorneys,” she said.

Moore’s court-appointed attorney, Paul Eckenrode, objected to a continuance.

“It’s their burden to prosecute those charges,” Eckenrode said after the hearing. ”It’s not (Moore’s) responsibility to prove his innocence. He’s sitting in jail based on allegations of someone who’s not willing to come to court.”

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