Cal Poly football players fight against going to trial
January 13, 2015
Attorneys representing four former Cal Poly football players accused of complicity in an attempted armed robbery of a fraternity house argued Monday that their clients should not go to trial.
In August 2014, San Luis Obipso police arrested five Cal Poly football players for their alleged involvement in the crime, which took place at the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity house on California Boulevard. Police identified Cameron Akins, 19, as the man who carried a gun onto the property and subsequently engaged in a physical struggle with both fraternity members and officers.
But, the lawyer representing one of the accused football players says his client did not even know Akins at the time of the incident. Attorney Chris Casciola, who is representing 20-year-old Cortland Fort, told CalCoastNews last summer that his client had just arrived in town two weeks prior to the attempted robbery, and at the time, he did not know any of the co-defendants by name.
Casciola said Fort was the only sober person at a party earlier that night, and he was asked to drive the others.
Police arrested Fort after they stopped him driving away from the area of the incident in a rental car with headlights off. On the same morning, officers also arrested Dominique Love, 19; Jake Brito,18; and then-star running back Kristaan Ivory, 20.
On Monday, attorneys for the three other accused accomplices joined Casciola in court. They each argued that there was no evidence linking their clients to the scene of the crime. [Tribune]
Lead police investigator Detective Eric Vitale said interviews with witnesses have not confirmed the presence of the four defendants at the fraternity house around the time of the attempted robbery.
Vitale testified that the witnesses he interviewed did not identify any of the four suspected accomplices. Residents of the fraternity house told him that two men appeared on the property with their heads and faces masked, wearing hoodies and bandanas, Vitale said.
One of the suspects was carrying an unloaded derringer-style .38-caliber pistol. The man without the gun fled.
The police detective also testified that three female witnesses told him they saw seven or eight masked men lurking around the property.
Vitale said his investigation determined that all five defendants in the case left the party with the intent of stealing marijuana, cash and electronics from residents of the frat house.
After the incident, sources told CalCoastNews that there was an ongoing dispute between some football players and fraternity members over marijuana sales. A month after the attempted robbery, officers arrested the former president of the fraternity for allegedly selling marijuana out of the same house.
The former Delta Sigma Phi president, 22-year-old Gear McMillan has pleaded not guilty to possession of marijuana for sale. Each of the defendants in the robbery case have also entered not guilty pleas.
A continuation of Monday’s preliminary hearing will occur Tuesday afternoon with Vitale still on the stand.