Judge sticks to Nov. 8 Simpson hearing date


Despite juggling the schedules of at least nine attorneys and six defendants, Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure Jr. is sticking to a Nov. 8 preliminary hearing date for O.J. Simpson and his co-defendants in an alleged armed robbery at the Palace Station.

Simpson and his five co-defendants are expected to appear in court for the two-day hearing. Simpson is accused of storming a Palace Station hotel room Sept. 13 along with Walter Alexander, Clarence Stewart, Michael McClinton, Charles Ehrlich, and Charles Howard Cashmore.

According to Las Vegas police, the men held two sports memorabilia collectors at gunpoint while Simpson's crew carted off memorabilia, some of which Simpson has argued belonged to him.

The men are now facing robbery, kidnapping, conspiracy, burglary and assault-related charges.

Alexander's local attorney, Martin Muckleroy, said Alexander's out-of-state attorney, Robert Rentzer, was in trial at the time of the November preliminary hearing and asked for a date in December.

But Bonaventure mandated his appearance.

"I do have to insist," he said.

Simpson's out-of-state attorney, Yale Galanter, is in the middle of a three-month-long trial in Washington, D.C., but already has made arrangements to fly in for the Las Vegas hearing, said Simpson's local attorney, Gabriel Grasso.

Bonaventure also set deadlines for legal motions prior to the preliminary hearing.

Grasso said he plans to submit written arguments challenging the kidnapping charge.

"The best I can describe the kidnapping allegations is (that) they're very creative," Grasso said.

Prosecutors have charged the group with first-degree kidnapping. According to the charging document, the six defendants had Tom Riccio, who has not been charged in this case, lure collector Alfred Beardsley to the room under the pretext of brokering the sale of Simpson's memorabilia. The group then confined Beardsley at gunpoint to the hotel room.

"Basically they (prosecutors) are saying they (the defendants) are kidnapping a guy because they tricked him into a hotel room," Grasso said.

 

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