The prosecution and defense both rested their cases Thursday in the fourth day of the trial for the three men charged with committing various violent burglaries and robberies from 2009 to 2010.
Proceedings led off today with the continued testimony of the confidential informant that helped lead to the arrest of the defendants.
The three defendants,Maksim Illarionov, 23, of State College, Dmitriy Litvinov, 25, of Bellefonte, and Anatoliy Veretnov, 28, of Bellefonte, are charged with multiple counts of robbery, simple assault, criminal mischief, theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.
Today, the jury listened to the second half of the recording of the events of the night of the March 3, 2010 arrests. The audio recording detailed the failure of the attempted robbery of Uncle Chen’s Chinese Restaurant, 430 E. Calder Way, as well as the plans to rob a home near Hillcrest Avenue and Glenn Road, where the fourth co-defendant, Alexei Semionov, was arrested for breaking into a home and stealing car chains and a garage door opener.
Semionov pleaded guilty earlier this year and was sentenced in February to serve anywhere from 36 years and one month to 72 years and two months in a state prison.
After Semionov was arrested, the informant and Litvinov drove away from the scene, calling Illarionov to get out of the house he was currently robbing, according to the informant. Illarionov told him and Litvinov to go to the East College Avenue residence where they stashed stolen items, such as jewelry and guns, and take stolen items out of there, according to the informant.
Once Illarionov met up with the informant and Litvinov in the informant’s car on Penn State campus, Illarionov told the informant to drive to his South Allen Street residence, thinking the police wouldn’t know about that residence, according to the informant. Once they all arrived at the residence, police handcuffed the informant and Litvinov and eventually Illarionov when police caught him after he tried to run away, according to the informant.
Members of the State College Police Department and the Ferguson Township Police Department who were involved in the March 3, 2010 arrests also testified today.
Officer John Aston of the State College Police Department, one of the officers who assisted in the search warrant on Illarionov’s East College Avenue residence, also testified today, saying he found out about certain stolen items that were stolen from residences and businesses including jewelry, guns and auto parts.
Lieutenant Keith Robb of the State College Police Department, who served the search warrant on the South Allen Street residence of Illarionov, testified he found car inspection stickers and emissions stickers that had been stolen from Penn Mobile, 705 S. Atherton St., and a Texaco. Robb also said police found a bag filled with credit cards and bottles of prescription drugs that were stolen from various State College residences.
Officer Kris Hopkins of the State College Police Department K-9 division testified that she and her tactical dog tracked Illarionov for about five and a half blocks after he ran from police that night to a parking lot around South Atherton Street where Illarionov had been hiding in a car. Illarionov told police when they found him that he was “just sitting in his car trying to keep warm,” Hopkins said.
State College Police Detective Ralph Ralston testified today that the informant gave him one of Illarionov’s guns to disarm, corroborating the informant’s testimony of yesterday. Ralston said the firing pin return spring was taken out so the gun would load the rounds and appear to work, but would not fire.
Officer Thomas Dann of the State College Police Department also testified Thursday, saying he helped coordinate the events of that night, putting the wire on the informant and buying him a cell phone so he could keep in contact with the police.
Detective Joshua Martin of the Ferguson Township Police Department, who was one of the officers charged with analyzing phone records, testified that there were always clusters of calls between the defendants both before and after each of the crimes took place.
Lieutenant Chris Fishel of the State College Police Department testified that he provided backup for the surveillance team that was watching the informant that night the night of March 2-3, 2010.
State College Police Officer Kris Albright testified that she and some other officers found one of the assault rifles used in some of the crimes the defendants are charged with at Litvinov’s residence.
In an unusual event, the defense offered one witness Thursday before the prosecution was done presenting all of theirs since the witness was only available at a specific time in the day. The witness, Yuri Khapilin, the owner of a home insulation company Veretnov worked for, testified by phone that he has a pay stub saying that Veretnov was paid on February 12, 2010, meaning he must have worked two weeks before that time, according to the pay-period schedule.
Also today, Illarionov asked Centre County President Judge Thomas Kistler to allow him to release his current attorney Daniel Nelson from his defense duties, citing irreconcilable differences. Kistler denied the request saying that he has not seen enough friction between the two that would convince him Illarionov isn’t being properly defended.
Kistler said that closing arguments the jury charge is scheduled to begin tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m.