A Pasco man has been acquitted of allegations he helped rob the occupants of a home because he knew they had drugs and other valuable items.
A Franklin County Superior Court jury Thursday returned the innocent verdict for Cast Michael Angelo Cruz.
Cruz, 23, had been charged with one count of first-degree robbery.
Meanwhile, co-defendant Brianna Mae Webberly is facing prison time after pleading guilty in February to first-degree robbery while armed with a deadly weapon.
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Prosecutors had alleged Cruz was an accomplice in the Aug. 29 incident at a South 25th Place home.
Pasco police were called at 8:34 p.m. for reports of a woman with a gun in the garage. Police were told she was wearing a bandana over her face and that two other people were inside the garage.
The victims said they had been hanging out in the garage with Cruz and another man when a woman — later identified as Webberly — came in wearing a dark beanie and bandana and pulled out a silver revolver, court documents said. Webberly then put the gun to Cruz’s head and demanded that everyone empty their pockets.
At least one victim escaped into the house and called 911. The victims admitted having hash oil and other drugs in the garage.
Officers searched Cruz’s Ford Ranger parked in front, and the garage. Webberly’s purse with identification was found inside the Ford, and large amounts of marijuana, digital scales and the gun, bandana and hoodie were seized, court documents said.
Webberly and Cruz were accused of taking video games, drug paraphernalia and $167 in cash.
Webberly initially told police she went to the home to buy marijuana, then changed her story to say she and Cruz schemed to rob the residents, documents said.
Cruz, in his interview with officers, admitted that the plan was for him to arrive at the home first and Webberly would come later and rob him and the victims, documents said.
Detectives later discovered the revolver was inoperable because it was missing the firing pin.
Two weeks before the trial started, Judge Cameron Mitchell denied a motion to dismiss. He ruled that the gun was not permanently disabled and still was a deadly weapon, and that the victims couldn’t have known it would not work.
Judge Alex Ekstrom presided over the two-day trial.
Cruz was ordered immediately released from the Franklin County jail after his acquittal Thursday.
Webberly, now 19, of Kennewick, is scheduled to be sentenced March 24.
Deputy Prosecutor Maureen Lorincz wrote in court documents that she will recommend an exceptional sentence below the standard range of two years and seven months to three years and five months.
Webberly, who testified in Cruz’s trial, is looking at two years and two months in prison.