Trio Used Air Pistol in February Robbery, East Hampton Cops Say
Two teens and a 22-year-old who allegedly robbed an East Hampton man a little before midnight on Feb. 22 using what appeared to be a pistol have been arrested by East Hampton Town police detectives.
They were all charged with robbery in the second degree, a felony. The two teens, Terrell Donald Smith, 19, of Southampton and Lauren N. Gerry, 18, of Manorville, were taken into custody after being questioned at police headquarters in Wainscott Tuesday. Both confessed in lengthy statements. They were released after posting bail set by Justice Steven Tekulsky: $1,000 for Mr. Smith and $750 for Ms. Gerry.
Devon Trent, 22, of Bayport turned himself in Thursday morning after police contacted him. His parents, who were in court for his arraignment, posted $1,000 bail, also set by Justice Tekulsky.
It was Mr. Trent who held the weapon in question -- a black Airsoft pistol that looks like the real thing — according to the police and statements from Mr. Smith and Ms. Gerry.
In Ms. Gerry's statement, she said that she had asked her boyfriend, Mr. Trent, to arrange for her to buy an ounce of marijuana. Mr. Trent put her in contact with the alleged victim, Tyler Barnish, an Ocean Parkway resident. "He was going to sell me weed," she said. Ms. Gerry Snap-chatted with Mr. Barnish, "saying I needed an ounce of weed, and told him who I was." The two agreed upon $300 as the purchase price, she told detectives. The transaction was to take place outside Mr. Barnish's residence.
According to Mr. Smith's statement, that was when Mr. Trent called him. "I need you to ride with me," he said he was told. Mr. Trent and Ms. Gerry drove to Mr. Smith's house. "Let's take your whip out to East Hampton," Mr. Trent allegedly said to Mr. Smith. The "whip" in question was a 2003 Ford Mustang. With Mr. Trent driving the Mustang, the threesome headed towards East Hampton. "Devon knew a kid out there who had some bud," Mr. Smith explained, meaning marijuana. Mr. Smith saw that Mr. Trent had the Airsoft gun with him, he told police.
The two men got out of the car down the block from Mr. Barnish's house. "Devon and I were going to run up on the guy and take his weed," Mr. Smith explained.
Mr. Barnish came outside and went to the Mustang. That is when the two men made their move. "I couldn't believe it was actually going down," Mr. Smith told police. They confronted Mr. Barnish, and Mr. Trent pointed the gun at him, and emptied his pockets, pulling out the bag of marijuana, about $150 in cash, and an LG Vizio cellphone, according to police. The two men then jumped into the passenger side of the two-door car, cramming themselves into the front seat, as Mr. Trent shouted at Ms. Gerry, "Go, go, go!" the statements say.
Ms. Gerry sped off and almost immediately got lost. Stopping when they thought they were a safe distance away, Mr. Trent, who is familiar with the East Hampton area because he works part time in store in the village, allegedly got behind the wheel and navigated them back to Mr. Smith's Hillcrest Avenue house in Southampton.
In Ms. Gerry's statement, she initially denied that her boyfriend, Mr. Trent, was with them. Instead, she told police, the gunman was a white male. Mr. Trent is black. "He was a tall white male with a thin build, dark black hair, big ears, and acne on his face," she said. She did not know his name.
She then did an about-face with the detectives interviewing her Tuesday morning. "I want to say that I wasn't totally truthful with everything I said," she told detectives. "It was Devon and myself's (sic.) plan to rip off Tyler," she allegedly said. "I wish I would have never done what we did," she said at the end of her statement.
Mr. Trent was arraigned Thursday a little before noon. Rudy Migliore Jr., assistant district attorney, told Justice Tekulsky that, of the three defendants, it was Mr. Trent who was the most culpable, and asked bail be set at $15,000. Mr. Trent's mother cried as Mr. Migliore spoke.
On Mr. Trent's behalf, Matthew D'Amato, an attorney at the Legal Aid Society, argued that Mr. Trent has never been in trouble with the law, that he had turned himself in voluntarily, and is a full-time student at Suffolk County Community College. Mr. D'Amato also pointed out the Mr. Trent's parents were seated in the courtroom. Justice Tekulsky noted the presence of the parents, and set bail at $1,000.