Friends and family of four Clayton Valley Charter High School students packed a Martinez courtroom where the teens pleaded not guilty to armed robbery and criminal conspiracy charges today.
Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox said the four teens — Miles Harrison, Drew Crabbe, Lucas Ostolaza and James Dempsey, all 17 — are being charged as adults in connection with an alleged armed robbery of a reported marijuana dealer in Concord on April 9.
Knox said the defendants are all just a few months away from turning 18 and the seriousness of the crime, coupled with the allegation that they used masks and conspired together to commit the robbery, indicated a “level of sophistication” that made it appropriate to move the case out of juvenile court.
Over a dozen friends and supporters stood outside the courtroom, which was closed due to capacity constraints. Several said they were there to support their friends.
Roger Cortes, 18, also a senior at Clayton Valley Charter, said he played football up until this year with several of the defendants.
He was “sad” to hear they had been arrested, he said.
“It’s hard to hear something like that about your classmates,” Cortes said. “It’s a tough spot, a tough situation.”
On April 9, police said two of the defendants entered through a side yard and confronted an 18-year-old reported drug dealer, who was at home in the 1000 block of Rolling Woods Way in Concord, just after 2 p.m.
The suspects, one of whom was allegedly armed with a handgun, stole marijuana and a cell phone from the victim before getting into a car and driving away, police said.
Officers found the car and the four teens inside, along with the gun, cell phone and marijuana.
The gun turned out to be unloaded, police said.
Cortes declined to say whether he thought their friends are innocent. Cortes said he just wants them to know they aren’t alone.
“I just want them to know I’m here for them and that they aren’t alone in it,” Cortes said. “We’re all here to support them.”
The four teens are due back in court on May 4.