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Trials underway for Morrow County armed robbery defendants

Phil Wright

East Oregonian

Published on February 12, 2018 7:51PM

The Morrow County trial for armed robbery defendant Daniel Faustino Arce of Portland stretches into its fourth day Tuesday. And the trial for co-defendant Desirea Devin of Heppner begins Wednesday.

District Attorney Justin Nelson said jury selection last week for Arce’s trial took one day and not just a few hours, and what was planned as a two-day trial has doubled. He said the same situation could happen with the Devin case.

Arce, 29, and Devin, 23, face charges of robbery, burglary, theft, and more, including unlawful use of a weapon and attempted arson. The state accused them of committing the crimes Dec. 17 in southern Morrow County and firing a gun at one victim. Bird hunters pinned down the pair when they tried to set fire to the vehicle they stole, according to court records, which led to their arrests.

Devin’s attorney, Robert Klahn of Pendleton, has filed a motion to suppress her statements after she told a deputy she wanted a lawyer. In response, Nelson is asking the court to strike the suppression motion or to continue the trial because Klahn did not follow court filing deadlines. Circuit Judge Daniel Hill will hear arguments on the matter Tuesday morning.

The case has a third defendant — Vera Rose Smith, 35, of Warm Springs. She faces charges of first- and second degree burglary, unauthorized use of a vehicle, first-degree theft. Nelson said her charges are different from Arce and Devin’s because Smith was involved at the start of the crimes and soon left. Her trial begins Feb. 20.

All three defendants remain in the Umatilla County Jail, Pendleton.


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