Four people, including an LAUSD employee, charged in connection with an armed robbery at a Nordstrom Rack store in Westchester, where 14 employees were held hostage, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday. The court stayed open late Tuesday for the hearing. Angie Crouch reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2013.
Four people, including an LAUSD employee, charged in connection with an armed robbery at a Nordstrom Rack store in Westchester, where 14 employees were held hostage, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.
Troy Marsay Hammock, 29, and Everett Oneal Allen, 24, were charged with 14 counts each of second degree robbery and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon – a knife.
Allen was a cafeteria worker at Liecthy Middle School, according to the Los Angeles Unified School District. The district would not give specifics about Allen’s job or whether he has direct contact with students.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Shelly Torrealba ordered Hammock to remain jailed in lieu of $780,000 bail, while Allen was ordered to be held in lieu of $730,000 bail while awaiting a Jan. 28 hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require them to stand trial.
Two women, Rochelle Monique Sherman, 33, and Paula Roneshia Bradley, 29, are charged with one count each of being an accessory after the fact. They also pleaded not guilty and were ordered to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Rochelle Sherman has a license to work as a security guard.
A fifth defendant, Raymond Sherman Jr., 34, is charged with two counts of forcible rape, one count each of oral copulation, kidnapping for rape and assault with a deadly weapon and 14 counts of second-degree robbery. Sherman -- described in court by Deputy District Attorney Frank Santoro as the brother of Rochelle Sherman -- is awaiting extradition from Arizona, where he was arrested.
The criminal complaint alleges that Raymond Sherman personally used a firearm during the commission of the crime.
The robbery was reported just after 10 p.m. Thursday by a spouse of an employee at the clothing store at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center.
“The investigators worked relentlessly for the next 48 hours to track down the assailants,” Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference Monday at police headquarters.
“By Saturday evening, Robbery-Homicide Division was able to identify and arrest the three suspects who committed the robbery,” the police chief said. “Two additional individuals were also arrested for their actions after the robbery.”
SWAT officers from the Los Angeles Police Department led the hostage victims to safety early Friday, several hours after two gunmen were reported to have entered the business. One hostage had been stabbed and another was sexually assaulted, according to police.
A vehicle that may have been used by the suspects to flee the shopping center was later located near Washington Boulevard and Globe Avenue in Culver City. Some items possibly related to the store were recovered, authorities said.
The Promenade is an outdoor shopping center with stores, eateries, a miniature golf course and a cinema multiplex. The Nordstrom Rack store -- a clearance outlet for the upscale department store -- is on the second floor of the complex.