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Attorney wants Fayette robbery case dismissed for lack of evidence

| Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

The attorney for a Monroeville man who was identified through DNA as a suspect in a 5-year-old robbery asked a judge on Wednesday to dismiss the case for lack of evidence.

Vikram Yamba, 28, of 105 Urick Lane, Monroeville, is charged by state police at Belle Vernon with aggravated assault, robbery, simple assault, reckless endangerment, theft and illegal possession of a firearm.

Police said Yamba fired a handgun twice at employees of the Citgo Foodmart on Route 40 in Redstone on April 18, 2007, when they refused his demands for cash. One shot shattered the store's glass door.

Charges were not filed until this year, when DNA recovered from a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap found near the Citgo was identified as Yamba's.

During a pretrial hearing on Wednesday before Judge John F. Wagner Jr., Yamba's attorney, David Kaiser of Uniontown, pointed out the cap was found at least 50 feet from the Citgo and no witnesses have identified Yamba as the suspect.

District Attorney Jack Heneks argued that the cap not only has Yamba's DNA on it, but it matches one depicted on video surveillance of the robbery.

The video, testified Trooper Fred Gregg of state police at Belle Vernon, shows two men participated in the robbery.

The man who fired the handgun wore a yellow Pittsburgh Pirates ball cap identical to the one that was recovered on Route 166 shortly after the robbery, Gregg testified. The other wore a green New York Yankees ball cap.

Both ball caps, along with black gloves, T-shirts and sweatshirts, were found scattered along Route 166 after the robbery, testified another trooper, David Hamer.

Gregg said although DNA was recovered from both ball caps, it wasn't until 2011 that one came back as a match for Yamba. DNA from the other cap has not yet been linked to anyone.

Hamer testified no witnesses have identified Yamba as a participant.

Wagner did not immediately rule on the request.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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