ShareThis Page

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

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.