LANCASTER – The preliminary hearing for a man charged with robbing three Lancaster restaurants within a two-hour span was postponed, once again.
Damon Banks appeared in an Antelope Valley courtroom Thursday, but his preliminary hearing was postponed until August 6 because his private defense attorney was engaged in another trial.
Banks and 27-year-old Lee Vance McQuilkin are accused of robbing Little Caesars, Wienerschnitzel and Subway, between 7 and 9 p.m., on Sunday, June 10. In each case, two men walked into the restaurant, held the employees at gunpoint, demanded money from the register and then escaped on foot, sheriff’s officials said. The crimes were caught on surveillance video.
On June 22, Banks was charged with five counts of robbery, and a $300,000 felony warrant was issued for his arrest. Banks turned himself in on July 3 and has been in custody since.
Family members insist Banks had nothing to do with the robberies and was not in Lancaster when the crimes occurred. They believe the incident is a case of mistaken identity.
Banks’ preliminary hearing was originally set for July 17, but that hearing was rescheduled to July 26 at the request of both the prosecution and the defense.
Banks’ defense attorney, Stephen King, said prosecutors had agreed to take a closer look at the evidence to determine if the district attorney’s office would continue to proceed with the case. King also said he would be reviewing information from “GPS tracking devices and cell phone tower technology” in an attempt to prove that Banks was well outside of Lancaster during the times of the robberies.
King was not present Thursday, but prosecutors turned over several compact discs of discovery to King’s stand-in.
Before Banks was taken back into custody, he pleaded with Superior Court Judge Christopher Estes to reduce his bail.
“I’m in jeopardy of losing my job as of August 1,” Banks said.
His request was denied and he was ordered back to custody on $300,000 bail. Banks is due back in court on August 6.
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