Two of the men accused of staging an armed robbery with OJ Simpson today agreed to give evidence against him.
Charles Cashmore, 40, told a judge he would plead guilty to a felony and testify against Simpson and four others over the theft of sports collectibles in a Las Vegas hotel room.
Walter Alexander, 46, of Mesa, Arizona, told a judge he will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, a felony. He could face between one and six years in prison.
Cashmore can testify that guns were involved in the confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers, his lawyer said.
Outside the courtroom, Alexander and his lawyers declined to say what testimony he will provide.
The plea agreements up the ante in the prosecution of Simpson. Cashmore can testify that guns were involved in the Sept. 13 confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas casino hotel room, his lawyer said.
“He can establish who was in the room, what was said, who had guns, who didn’t have guns, potentially who may have seen guns, who didn’t see guns,” attorney Edward Miley said outside court. “I think he wishes he would have never met OJ.”
Simpson and his lawyers have denied guns were in the room.
“In District Court, he’ll be pleading guilty to accessory to robbery,” District Attorney David Roger said in court today.
“He’s agreed to provide truthful testimony.”
Simpson and the others, Clarence “CJ” Stewart, Michael McClinton, and Charles Ehrlich, are due in court for a preliminary hearing on November 8.
A judge will decide then whether there is enough evidence to send them for trial in a state court
Both Alexander and Cashmore waived their preliminary hearings. Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure Jr., set both men’s arraignments for October 23.
Cashmore faces up to five years in prison.
“In District Court, he’ll be pleading guilty to accessory to robbery,” Clark County District Attorney David Roger told Bonaventure. “He’s agreed to provide truthful testimony.”
Cashmore was initially arraigned on nine felonies and a gross misdemeanour, charges that included kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy. A kidnapping conviction alone could have resulted in a sentence of life in prison with parole.
If asked, Cashmore will testify if asked at the preliminary hearing that Alexander and McClinton were armed when they entered the room with Simpson, Miley said.
Simpson claims at least some of the items taken from collectors Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong belonged to him, and his lawyers have maintained that no guns were used. Simpson and the others are charged with kidnapping, armed robbery, assault, burglary and conspiracy.
Cashmore was introduced to Simpson and most of the others in the group for the first time minutes before the alleged robbery, Miley said.
“He didn’t know anyone. He didn’t know what was going on,” Miley said. “He didn’t have a gun.”
Cashmore, a journeyman labourer, bartender and disc jockey, surrendered to authorities six days after the encounter, and after police released images from hotel security videotapes showing him carrying a box from the room at the hotel.
Cashmore did not look at everything in the box, but said some items included lithograph prints of football great Joe Montana, his lawyer said.
Cashmore should have immediately gone to the police and turned over the items he carried out of the room, Miley said. “He should have done something, but he didn’t,” Miley said.
In 1996, he plea bargained a felony theft charge to a misdemeanour and received probation in an embezzlement case in Utah.
Alexander’s lawyer, Robert Dennis Rentzer, declined to say whether Alexander had a gun in the room, but expressed doubt Cashmore could say Alexander was armed.
McClinton’s lawyer, Bill Terry, did not respond to requests for comment.