Monday, March 30, 2015

Judge disrupted during hearing for Bristol Township robbery suspects

Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2015
A preliminary hearing for three men accused of armed robbery turned into a circus of interruptions Wednesday with a defendant’s mom and the entire back row of the courtroom ejected, a defendant addressing his well-wishers and the same defendant threatening the man he is accused of robbing.
“This is a joke isn’t it?” Bristol Township District Judge Joanne Kline said.
The remark came after robbery suspect Kashawn “Doughboy” Conyers stood up and addressed family and friends — telling them he “appreciated the love” and hoped to see them again someday — as they exited the courtroom on the judge’s order.
No one was laughing.
The courtroom ejection was the second during the hourlong preliminary hearing for Conyers, 22, and co-defendants Thomas Bradley II, 23, and Kevin Edwards, 23, all of Bristol Township. The three men are charged in connection with a gunpoint robbery of another township man Jan. 25. The hearing was postponed a week after the alleged robbery victim failed to appear last week.
Thomas Bradley II, Kashawn Conyers, and Kevin Edwards 
Kevin Tramel did appear this time and recounted events that he said took place before, during and after the trio robbed him outside a home in the 1000 block of Winder Drive. At times he claimed he couldn’t remember certain details without referring to the signed statement he gave Bristol Township police the day of the robbery.
Tramel claimed he was in his parked car looking for a cellphone charger when he noticed the three men in his rearview mirror walking down the street. The men — who he recognized from the Winder Village neighborhood — approached Tramel and started asking questions about the car, he testified. But when Tramel started to get out of the car, Conyers, who had a gun, told him to get back in the car, which he did, he said.
Tramel testified that Conyers’ gun was the only one he saw and that the gun was never pointed at him, rather at the ground. The testimony differed from what court documents say he told police the first time, that Bradley also had a gun.
Inside the car, the men rifled through his pockets and took $60, a pack of Newport cigarettes and his cellphone, Tramel said, adding that the robbery was so quick he isn’t sure who took the items. He added nothing else was taken from the car.
Court documents allege that Tramel’s girlfriend told police on the night of the robbery that she recorded it as it was happening because Tramel tried to call her and the call went to voice mail. Court documents allege the girlfriend told police that she knew where the men live and they are her neighbors in Winder Village.
Tramel also testified that it was his girlfriend — not him — who called police to report the robbery.
On the witness stand, Tramel didn’t initially recall anything specific the men said to him, other than Conyers telling him to get back in the car and later someone asking him “where’s it at,” referring to his valuables. But after he was shown his signed police statement, Tramel recalled that Bradley threatened to shoot him if he told Bradley’s mom what happened.
“That is not true,” Bradley’s mother yelled from the audience.
When Bucks County prosecutor Greg Shore told the woman she had to keep quiet, she told him to shut up, prompting the first courtroom ejection. After the second courtroom ejection and Conyers’ interruption to address well-wishers, Kline’s patience had worn thin.
“This is funny?” Kline said before she read Conyers the list of charges against him. “This is entertaining. This is something to do on a Wednesday afternoon?”
But it’s what Conyers did next that had the judge on her feet shouting.
After Tramel finished his testimony, Kline dismissed him, but first asked one of the police officers in the court to escort him to the parking lot.
“The police can’t watch you forever,” Coyners yelled at Tramel from the defense table.
A shocked Kline stood up and looked at Coyners and the attorneys in the room.
“He just threatened the victim. Did you hear that?” Kline said, before demanding that Conyers be slapped with a felony charge of witness intimidation. Next, Conyers got up and appeared to try to leave the courtroom before a constable and his attorney stopped him.
Following the witness testimony, Kline dismissed several charges against the defendants: Bradley had a felony charge of firearms to be carried without a license dropped along with possession of an instrument of crime and two conspiracy charges. But he still faces several misdemeanor conspiracy charges. Edwards had two conspiracy charges dismissed but faces trial on four conspiracy charges.
Kline also dismissed felony charges of carrying a firearm without a license and a conspiracy theft charge against Conyers, but held him for trial on six other conspiracy charges and misdemeanor possession of an instrument of crime.
Bradley and Edwards remain in Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $500,000 bail. Conyers, who was arrested Feb. 17, is incarcerated in lieu of 10 percent of $50,000 bail.

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