Co-accused convicted of attempted theft from Flagstaff jewelry store | Crime and courts

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BRADY WHEELER Journalist Sun

A second man has been convicted of an attempted robbery at a jewelry store in Flagstaff.

Dequint Blunt, 29, of Phoenix, was convicted of all counts last week, including multiple felony counts involving a deadly weapon. The incident happened in 2014 when Blunt walked into Jim Anderson Jewelers and held the store owner at gunpoint.

The Coconino Superior Court verdict comes less than a month after his accomplice, Porter Deron Land, 42, was sentenced to 28 years in prison for similar crimes stemming from the attempted burglary.

A police investigation revealed that the two Phoenix men traveled to Flagstaff nearly seven years ago to rob the Fourth Street business and forcibly attempted to gain access to the store’s safe in broad daylight.

The case involved evidence of two rental vehicles, multiple hotel reservations, fake names and a handgun. Blunt was linked to the crime after investigators were able to match his DNA to a shirt discarded during a jaunt.

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“Rest assured that at the end of this case you will know based on beyond reasonable doubt evidence that Dequint Blunt is guilty of every charge,” Advocate General Ammon Barker told the jury.

Blunt has been charged with first degree burglary, attempted armed robbery with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault with a fatal weapon and criminal damage.

Surveillance footage released during the trial showed Blunt and Land approaching the jewelry store on the morning of June 24, 2014. Blunt first entered the business at around 11:15 am and asked former store owner Mary DeLeon to show him alliances.

But DeLeon got a feeling something was wrong when Blunt asked her if she was alone. DeLeon, who appeared on the witness stand during the trial, said she lied and told Blunt there was a jeweler working in the back.

Then the store phone rang.

As DeLeon responded, Blunt allegedly pulled out a gun and pointed it at DeLeon’s head, demanding information about the store safe. DeLeon, who later described that she worked hard to make the business thrive, said she was ready to fight.

After a physical altercation, DeLeon was pushed to the ground and recalled feeling the pistol pressed to the back of her head. Remembering pre-security training, she thought about humanizing herself by telling the abuser that she had children.

“If you want to see them again, you will take me to the safe,” she reminded the shooter.

At this point, with DeLeon still lying on the floor, another man entered the business. DeLeon yelled at the man to get out of the store, but Blunt pointed the gun at the man and ordered him to stay inside, the prosecution said.

DeLeon reportedly told the client, “Go away or he’ll kill you.”

The man, who will later testify at the trial, said he turned and walked out of the store, fearing he was about to be shot in the back. While leaving, he encountered the other thief, Land, outside, and Land attempted to grab the other man’s cell phone to prevent him from calling the police, according to the prosecution.

After a fight, Land is said to have entered the jewelry store and Blunt is said to have attempted to leave. In the commotion, the prosecution said DeLeon was able to take off, set off a silent alarm in the store and grab a hidden gun.

Land walked over to a jewelry box in the back of the store, pushing it aside. DeLeon fired a single shot in her direction, intentionally missing, but causing Land to flee from the store by jumping out a window.

The prosecution case relied heavily on a range of evidence, including testimony, surveillance footage of the shopping complex and nearby hotels, and DNA sequencing from objects left near the scene.

The defense chose not to make an opening argument, but during closing statements asked if Blunt’s identity could be determined with certainty based on the evidence presented.

“If you have a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the alleged crimes because they may have been committed by a third party, I ask you to find the accused not guilty,” said the lawyer for the Blunt’s defense, David Paul Gordon.

After the verdict, Gordon did not comment but thanked the jury for their services.

Coconino County District Attorney Bill Ring was not present at the trial, but when contacted by the Arizona Daily Sun commented on behalf of the prosecution:

“The accused committed a brazen theft against one of our local business owners and now rightly faces a mandatory jail term. We thank the jury for their deliberation and service in this important matter,” Ring said.

He also thanked the Flagstaff and Barker Police Department for the “skill and courage” they displayed throughout the case.

Blunt is scheduled to appear in Division Five of the Coconino Superior Court before Judge Cathleen Brown Nichols for sentencing next month. The crimes carry a mandatory prison sentence and Blunt could face more than 20 years on each of the charges.

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