Victims testify about armed robberies: 4 men accused in robbery series that targeted pedestrians

SAN DIEGO - A man testified Monday that he and a friend were forced to the ground and robbed at gunpoint by two men near a San Diego State University dormitory.

Benjamin Levine's testimony came on the first day of an estimated three-day preliminary hearing for Jamarious Porche, 23, Askia Toure, 20, Joseph Ragland, 26, and 18-year-old Michael McGinnis, who are charged in a series of holdups between March 30 and April 10 of this year. Some of the 11 pedestrian victims were pistol-whipped.

Levine testified that he and a friend had just bought snacks at a College Avenue 7-Eleven and were walking back to the dorm when the assailants came up from behind.

The witness said one suspect asked for a "light" and when Levine said that neither he nor his friend had one, the assailants ordered them to the ground.

Levine said one of the suspects held a black pistol to the back of his head, and the robbers said "Give us everything! Give us everything!"

The witness said he gave the robbers his wallet, cell phone and the real PIN number to his debit card.

One of the suspects said "Are you lying?" and kicked Levine, the victim testified.

Sandra Obledo and her boyfriend Adam Blevins also testified Monday that two men robbed them in North Park on March 30. They said they were ordered to the ground and once their pockets were emptied, Blevins was pistol-whipped.

"My hands were up like this and my face was turned this way and he came from behind me so I didn't see him advance that close to me until I was hit," Blevins testified.

At the end of the hearing – which is expected to last through Wednesday – Judge Margie Woods will determine whether enough evidence was presented for the defendants to stand trial on charges of conspiracy, robbery and receiving stolen property.

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