Geoff Dornan

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July 15, 2014
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Hernandez balks at plea bargain deal

Robbie Hernandez, one of two accused in the Memorial Day robbery of a 101 year-old veteran, balked at his plea bargain deal Tuesday, hesitating when asked his plea.

“You hesitated a little bit when I asked you what the plea was,” said District Judge James Wilson.

Hernandez, 27, said he needed a little more time to consider whether he wanted private instead of appointed counsel to represent him in the case. His appointed counsel in the case is Michael Novi, a highly respected defense lawyer but Hernandez said he’s considering hiring a private lawyer instead.

“I’m not asking for a lot of time,” he said. “I’m asking maybe a week to get my finances together.”

Wilson said in that case, he would put off Hernandez’s arraignment for a week because “once you enter a plea, it would be very difficult for you to later try to withdraw it.”

If he decides against the plea bargain Novi worked out, that would reinstate the five major felonies originally charged and he would go to trial August 25. Under the plea deal, he was to plead guilty to robbery with a potential 2-15 year sentence and a consecutive 1-20 years for the elderly victim enhancement — a range of anything from three to 35 years in prison.

The other defendant in the case, Jordan Burkhart, 24, pled guilty before Wilson on Tuesday, saying his lawyer Noel Waters had explained the deal in detail to him and he understood the final sentence was still completely up to the judge.

The two were charged with breaking into the Carson City home of James Sorrentino on Memorial Day. During the robbery, they held both Sorrentino and his caregiver at gunpoint, demanding to know where the “safe” was. There was no safe in the home and, according to the arrest report, the two eventually left with just about $30 worth of miscellaneous property.

Both remain in custody in lieu of $1.25 million bail — $250,000 on each of the five counts.

Burkhart’s sentencing is set for Aug. 26.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jul 16, 2014 09:10AM Published Jul 15, 2014 04:35PM Copyright 2014 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.