Two defendants from South Los Angeles pleaded guilty on Sept. 29 to federal charges that they committed an armed robbery in March on the patio of the Il Pastaio restaurant in Beverly Hills.
Malik Lamont Powell, 21, and Khai McGhee, 18, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, interference with commerce by robbery, and using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.
A third defendant, Marquise Anthony Gardon, 41, of South Los Angeles, pleaded guilty on Sept. 10 to interference with commerce by robbery, as well as using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.
The three defendants are members of the Rollin’ 30s Crips street gang, federal authorities said. They drove to Beverly Hills on March 4 to commit a robbery and searched for potential victims, according to court documents. They saw a man seated on the restaurant patio at 400 N. Canon Drive wearing a Richard Mille wristwatch valued at $500,000 and decided to target him, prosecutors said.
The suspects confronted the victim at gunpoint and demanded the watch. The victim struggled with the suspects and the gun fired, striking a nearby female patron in the leg. The suspects fled, leaving the gun at the scene, prosecutors added. The female victim sustained a graze wound and has since recovered, police said.
Authorities used witness statements, security camera footage and DNA evidence to identify the suspects. McGhee’s DNA was found on the victim’s clothing after the robbery, police said. Beverly Hills Police Chief Dominick Rivetti and FBI officials announced the suspects had been arrested and charged on May 12.
United States District Judge John F. Walter is scheduled to sentence Powell and McGhee on Feb. 14. Sentencing for Gardon, who police said drove the getaway vehicle, is scheduled on Nov. 29.
The defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison for each of the robbery charges. Because the gun was fired, the firearms charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, and a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison.
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