LOS ANGELES — A prosecutor told jurors Tuesday, Jan. 5, that two Los Angeles men carried out a string of mostly small-scale robberies using a distinctive long-barreled six-shooter, but defense attorneys maintained that no evidence ties their clients to the eight heists attributed to the “Cowboy Gun Bandits.”
Dominic Dorsey, 48, of Hollywood, and Reginald Bailey, 70, of Jefferson Park are charged in an indictment alleging conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce in violation of the federal Hobbs Act.
The federal indictment also charges them with five specific Hobbs Act robberies and five counts of using a firearm during the robberies.
“Every one of these robberies was captured on surveillance cameras,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Axelrad said in his opening statement.
The prosecutor told the jury that video footage shows the masked thieves wore a “robbery uniform” for each heist, including dark hooded sweatshirts and face-obscuring bandanas.
However, in one instance, prior to an Encino gas station robbery,
Dorsey’s face and distinctive sneakers can be seen on video as he bought and pumped gas — before he returned to rob the place wearing the same shoes and driving a similar car, Axelrad alleged.
Philip Deitch, Dorsey’s attorney, countered that despite the prosecutor’s allegations, “the evidence does not support a conviction of either of these gentlemen.”
His client, Deitch suggested, is a family man who made a “comfortable living” buying and reselling used cars and would not have carried out a robbery spree.
Likewise, Jay Lichtman, Bailey’s counsel, told the panel that no
concrete evidence exists that would tie his client, who currently uses a wheelchair, to the crimes.
“We don’t expect anyone to come in and say, ‘That’s the robber,’” the lawyer said, adding that there is nothing “that would connect anyone to the robberies.”
When Bailey’s “meager” apartment was searched, Lichtman said, no cash or weapons were recovered.
As for the supposed “cowboy gun” that gives the case its name, the Colt 1873 revolver was never recovered, Axelrad said.
The prosecutor said witnesses and victims will testify about the gun they allegedly saw and would tell the jury “how afraid they were.”
The conspiracy count in the indictment alleges that Dorsey and Bailey participated in eight robberies during the winter of 2013, specifically on:
— Sept. 30 at a Papa John’s pizza restaurant in Canyon Country;
— Oct. 6 at an Arco gas station in Newhall;
— Oct. 18 at a Chevron gas station in Woodland Hills;
— Oct. 25 at an Arco gas station in Encino;
— Oct. 26 at a Mobil gas station in Thousand Oaks;
— Oct. 27 at a USA Gas station in Earlimart;
— Oct. 28 at a Valero gas station in Atwater Village; and
— Nov. 5 at a Citibank branch in Glendale, a robbery that netted more than $55,000.
Axelrad said the robberies were captured by video surveillance cameras, which allowed investigators to determine that one of the robbers — which he said was Bailey — was missing part of his left ring finger.
By the end of the trial, Axelrad said, the jury would agree that Bailey and Dorsey “are the cowboy gun bandits” and that they would be found guilty on every count.
Each of the six Hobbs Act violations carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. The gun violations carry potential life sentences, but also would bring mandatory minimum sentences of seven years for the first count and 25 years for each of the four additional counts.