Fayette jury convicts Monroeville man in 2007 robbery
A Monroeville man accused of holding up a Fayette County convenience store five years ago was found guilty of robbery, despite testimony from his parents indicating he was in Maryland at the time.
A jury deliberated for about 75 minutes on Tuesday before finding Vikram Yamba, 28, of 105 Urick Lane, Monroeville, guilty of robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and theft.
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 2012, when DNA recovered from a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap found near the Citgo was identified as Yamba‘s, police said.
Two state police forensic scientists testified that DNA on the ball cap matched Yamba's, but Yamba's parents testified their son was in Silver Spring, Md., at the time of the robbery.
Shashi Yamba said she took her son to visit his grandparents from April 15, 2007, to April 21, 2007. She testified her son was with her the entire time and did not travel to Fayette County on the day of the robbery.
Mohamed Yamba, who is interim dean of California University of Pennsylvania‘s College of Liberal Arts, said he recalled that week because his son was a student at the college, but had quit school.
“We were feuding a lot in that time period,” Mohamed Yamba testified. “I wanted him to go back to school. Every day was an argument. I think my wife took him away to soften the argument.”
Vikram Yamba's attorney, David Kaiser of Uniontown, asked jurors to find his client not guity because the sample taken from the hat for DNA testing was only one square centimeter.
“That's really not accurate,” Kaiser said. “There was only one person's DNA found ... on a cut of a cut of a hat. The whole hat was not tested.”
Assistant District Attorney Doug Sepic said police tested the most likely area of the hat where DNA would be found, regardless of the size of the sample.
“Finding it on that one piece ... is like finding a needle in a haystack,” Sepic said. “Is it coincidence? Clearly, the defendant had that hat on his head.”
Vikram Yamba, who is in the Fayette County Prison, will be sentenced at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 30 before President Judge John F. Wagner Jr.
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- NFL Notebook: Texans RB Foster to have groin surgery
- Catching on: Jeannette grad Pryor making progress with transition to receiver
- MLB notebook: Tigers fire GM Dombrowski
- Steelers notebook: Spaeth on baby watch
- Steelers defensive end Tuitt shifts into high gear
- N. Korean ship sought to pay judgement in lawsuit
- Elsie Hillman, philanthropist and one-time GOP powerhouse, dies at 89
- Delphi buys CMU spinoff that makes self-driving car software
- One man dead in McKees Rocks shooting
- Israeli militant jailed in West Bank arson
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Cubs Aug. 5, 2015