A San Luis Obispo Superior Court judge found there is enough evidence to proceed to trial in the cases of four of five Cal Poly football players accused of participating in an attempted armed robbery at a San Luis Obispo fraternity house.
However, a judge discharged all but a single felony conspiracy charge for two of the players.
All four are due back in court Feb. 9.
Cortland Fort, 20, of Fontana; Dominique Love, 19, of Poway; Jake Brito, 18, of Cypress; and Kristaan Ivory, 20, of Los Angeles stood accused of a variety of offenses related to the Aug. 10 incident, including attempted burglary and false imprisonment. All four had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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The four are accused of participating, along with another player, in a planned robbery of drugs and cash at the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity house on California Boulevard just off the Cal Poly campus.
The fifth defendant, Cameron Akins, 19, is awaiting a second arraignment and did not participate in the preliminary proceedings. Akins is charged with additional felonies of brandishing a firearm and resisting arrest and is due in court Feb. 9.
On Thursday, Superior Court Judge Donald Umhofer found that Ivory and Brito left the property before the robbery and should only be held accountable for a single felony charge of conspiracy based on their alleged actions — such as getting in the car — before they arrived at the frat house.
He dismissed all other charges for the two.
Umhofer found that Fort and Love, however, will face all nine charges against them — including conspiracy, as well as attempted residential robberies, attempted residential burglaries, and false imprisonment — in addition to criminal enhancements based on the prosecution’s argument that Akins was armed with a handgun during the crime.
Umhofer explained his decision by citing Fort's alleged role as a getaway driver and Love's alleged role as Akins' sidekick while on the Delta Sigma Phi property.
Deputy District Attorney Eric Dobroth said in his closing statement Thursday that while investigators determined that Ivory and Brito were the least culpable of the five because they left the scene before the alleged robberies and burglaries occurred, they did nothing to stop the crimes and were not initially truthful with officers.
“While I applaud their efforts to leave, it’s too little, too late and still warrants prosecution,” Dobroth said.
Each defense attorney then took turns arguing there was not enough evidence to link their respective clients to any crime, with Chris Casciola, attorney for Fort, suggesting the entire episode was a planned effort between Akins and members of the fraternity to rip off one of their own.
“I don’t believe that these frat brothers are superheroes,” Casciola said, noting that one resident of the house, former chapter president Gear McMillan, 22, was arrested weeks after the alleged robbery on suspicion of dealing drugs at the frat house. “Thousands of dollars have been going through that fraternity.”
According to testimony from San Luis Obispo Detective Amy Chastain, Akins had previously been roommates with members of the frat while living in an on-campus dorm.
Dobroth scoffed at Casciola’s theory.
“I applaud his efforts to write fictional novels,” Dobroth said. “It’s fantastic.”
The District’s Attorney’s Office will now re-file the accepted charges against the four, who are scheduled to be re-arraigned in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Feb. 9.