News Column

Bank Building Takeover Defendants Get Trial Dates

Jan 25, 2013

Cathy Kelly

A trial date of May 13, and a motion-to-dismiss date of March 11, was set Tuesday for three of four people still facing vandalism and trespassing charges for the takeover of a former bank building on River Street in 2011.

Gabriella Ripley-Phipps, Franklin Alcantara and Brent Adams appeared in court with their attorneys Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to felony vandalism and misdemeanor trespassing charges confirmed after a recent preliminary hearing.

Alcantara also pleaded not guilty to a recent petty theft charge.

The Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office originally charged 11 people with trespassing, vandalism and felony conspiracy for a high-profile occupation of a vacant former bank on Nov. 30, 2011. Ruling there was insufficient evidence, Burdick has dismissed charges against seven people and dismissed a felony conspiracy charge the group had faced.

He also fined the District Attorney's Office $500 for failing to comply with discovery motions made by defense attorneys.

People swarmed into the locked bank after an Occupy Santa Cruz march, causing some damage and sparking a tense stand-off with police. Three days later, the group walked away.

A group of supporters and activists came to court for the hearing Tuesday as they have done at earlier hearings, some of them still sporting "Santa Cruz 11" buttons.

The fourth defendant remaining, Cameron Laurendeau, was not in court Tuesday because his attorney had a scheduling conflict. He is due in court Feb. 1 and is expected to get the same trial and motion dates.

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Distributed by MCT Information Services



Source: (c) 2013 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.)


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