One of three firefighters headed to trial on robbery charges responded to the scene where his main accuser died, according to his defense attorney.
On Friday, a judge decided to send San Diego firefighters Capt. Vadid Cisneros, Andrew Brennan and Greg Econie to trial on Dec. 6, facing robbery charges brought against them by alleged victim Louis Martinez.
Martinez told a judge two years ago that he was jumped and knocked unconscious outside a Normal Heights bar in February 2012 by the off-duty firefighters.
The prosecution claimed the fight escalated to include Louis’ brother Willy and ended when the suspects took the victims’ cell phones and wallets.
But the case against Cisneros, Brennan and Econie recently hit a problem when Martinez, their main accuser, died from unrelated circumstances.
In a strange twist, Brennan was part of the crew sent to help Martinez, though the man was already dead when paramedics arrived, Brennan’s defense attorney Gretchen von Helms said.
The attorney alleges Martinez’s death was due to his reported methamphetamine addiction
Without the main accuser, the prosecution and defense were unable to agree to a plea for the firefighters, so a judge decided to send the suspects to trial.
“That changes the complexities of the trial going forward, especially for the district attorney’s office,” said von Helms.
The judge will have to decide whether Martinez’s testimony from the preliminary hearing will be usable during the trial.
Von Helms is vying for a quick resolution for her client, saying this entire, two-year process has been stressful for the firefighters who have maintained their innocence.
“This is very difficult,” von Helms told NBC 7. “These young men are honorable young men. They have served their city well.”