By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Two of the three suspects arrested for robbing Chase Bank in Paso Robles last week have been let out of jail, and San Luis Obispo County prosecutors have yet to file charges against any of the men.
As first noted in a Tribune report, the SLO County DA’s Office is continuing to investigate the robbery, but is refraining from charging Edward Ivan Ochoa, Luis Rios Rico and Jose Christian Ramirez. Assistant District Attorney Eric Dobroth told Cal Coast Times the DA’s office’s filing deputy did not believe there was sufficient evidence to file charges.
Shortly after 6 p.m. on Nov. 20, five robbers dressed in black clothing, wearing masks and armed with handguns and a rifle, entered the bank and demanded cash. Before leaving the bank, one of the robbers struck a bank employees on the eye with a rifle.
Following the robbery, CHP officers located a vehicle matching the description of the robber’s car that was traveling more than 100 mph on northbound Highway 101. CHP officers stopped the vehicle and found three occupants matching the descriptions of the robbers, who were subsequently arrested.
Ochoa and Rico are currently out of jail, while Ramirez remains in custody, according to the county sheriff’s office website. Ramirez, unlike the other two suspects, is facing a probation violation charge, in addition to being a suspect in the robbery.
California law requires defendants to be taken before a judge within 48 hours of their arrest, excluding hours that fall on Sundays and holidays. The robbery suspects were arrested on the night of Nov. 20 and were never arraigned.
Thanksgiving and the day after, which are court holidays, fell on Nov. 21 and 22. Some critics of the DA’s office are question whether prosecutors made a mistake around Thanksgiving and failed to have the suspects brought before a judge on time, forcing authorities to let the alleged robbers go.
Dobroth said “there were no issues of timing related to the release” of the bank robbery suspects.
“Presently our filing deputy did not believe there was sufficient evidence to file.” Dobroth said. “The case is actively being worked by PRPD and the DA Bureau of Investigation. There is significant evidence to be processed that was seized in the investigation.”