San Fernando Superior Court Judge Sanjay Kumar ruled that CSUN students Jeffrey Braswell and Deon Tresvant’s felony charges would not be reduced to misdemeanors. After lawyers presented arguments to decrease their charges, the two hung their heads as the judge denied the motion.
The son of CSUN basketball coach pleaded not guilty, as did CSUN basketball top scorer Tresvant and actor Phannuel Gbewonyo, late February to stealing iPods, Xbox’s, headphones and DVD’s from a Porter Ranch Best Buy on Jan 1.
Braswell, who worked at Best Buy at the time, is accused of logging into a cash register using a fellow employer’s username and password. Once logged in, Braswell would allegedly call Tresvant, Gbewonyo and CSUN basketball freshman reserve Dallas Rutherford to come and take items from the store without paying.
As Braswell tried to deflect his crime to another employee, Kumar said the charge should remain a felony.
Kumar also reasoned that the charge would not be reduced as the men repeatedly took items from Best Buy without paying.
‘It was a practice of stealing rather than an isolated event,’ said Kumar.
Attorneys for Braswell, Tresvant and Gbewonyo argued that their clients’ felonies should be reduced to a misdemeanor to correspond with Rutherford’s charge.
Rutherford pleaded guilty to misdemeanor grand theft last month. He was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to complete 200 hours of Caltrans service.
The three attorneys argued that their clients would find it difficult to be employed with a felony on their record and urged the judge to maintain a parody in sentencing.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jeffery Stodel said the men stole more than Rutherford and therefore should not have their charges reduced. Stodel said what they did could not be described as petty theft.
Tresvant already owned an Xbox but took one from Best Buy with the intent to sell it to his neighbor, said Stodel.
Braswell’s attorney, Mark Williams, said his client was used by his friends, is remorseful for his actions and ashamed for bringing embarrassment to his father and the basketball team.
‘We live to fight another day,’ said Gbewonyo’s attorney Robert Ernenwein as he left the courtroom.
The three have been ordered to appear for arraignment on April 1 at the San Fernando Courthouse.