BRADY WHEELER sun staff reporter
Porter Deron Land, a Phoenix man who attempted to rob a jewelry store in Flagstaff in 2014, was convicted on multiple counts Friday by a Coconino County Superior Court jury.
Jurors were invited Friday morning to consider closing arguments presented by Land’s attorney, Lindsay Smith, and prosecutor Ammon Barker, reconvening in the afternoon to deliver the verdict.
Land lifted a piece of paper to shield his face as he left the courtroom after the verdict. He was found guilty on all counts, including first-degree burglary, attempted robbery, armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault and criminal damage.
The burglary took place nearly seven years ago at Jim Anderson Jewelers, located at 2300 N. Fourth St., when two men, one of whom was determined by the jury to be Land, attempted to rob the company in broad daylight on the morning of June 24, 2014. Land’s co-defendant, who is still awaiting trial, faces similar charges in connection with the robbery.
The defense pointed to the uncertain testimony as a ground for reasonable doubt, but that did not outweigh the body of evidence presented by the prosecution.
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“You’ve heard a lot of testimony and none of those witnesses stood up and said, ‘It was Mr. Land, he did it,'” Smith said. “If you think Mr. Land is probably guilty, that is not enough and you must find my client not guilty.”
Smith’s office declined to comment on the case after the verdict when contacted by the Arizona Daily Sun.
Witnesses, including store owner Mary DeLeon, indeed struggled to identify Land during the investigation. DeLeon, however, identified that Land had walked into his store the day before. Police investigators suggested Land may have filmed the store the day before to get more information.
Barker asked that Land be held accountable by the jury and found guilty on all charges.
“Let me end with the same sentence I started with: review the evidence in the light of reason, common sense and experience. There’s a reason this jury system works. , and it’s because of the good sense of the community coming to judge the cases,” Barker said.
Coconino County District Attorney Bill Ring kept his comments brief due to Land’s co-defendant’s ongoing trial, but thanked a few parties involved.
“The Coconino County District Attorney’s Office thanks the jury for their service and the Flagstaff Police Department for their tenacity in helping us bring this individual to justice,” Ring said.
A police investigation identified multiple getaway vehicles and hotel reservations used by Land and his accomplices, also matching evidence gathered at the scene with Land’s DNA. Investigators relied heavily on witnesses and CCTV to try to paint a picture of the theft.
The police investigation indicates that one of the suspects entered the jewelry store at around 11:15 a.m. on a Tuesday. The man told the owner that he wanted to look at the rings. As DeLeon showed him some of the rings, the owner had a feeling something was wrong.
She lied when the suspect asked if there was anyone else in the store, telling her there was a jeweler in the back, according to the report. The thief then made his way to a set of jewelry boxes near the store’s back room.
It was at this point that the incident appeared to take a violent turn, as one of the men pointed a gun at DeLeon, demanding information regarding the store safe in the back.
The owner eventually found a window to set off a silent alarm and accessed a gun in the store, evidence shows. She fired a shot in the direction of one of the men, voluntarily reported missing. Surprised, the man threw himself out of a window to escape.
Land’s sentence is currently set for July 20 at 11 a.m.