Students charged in robbery appear in court

At Van Nuys Courthouse Friday, Pierce College students and first-degree robbery defendants Michael Hildebrand and Devin Duckett both received the judge’s approval to have their preliminary hearings continued at later dates.

On Monday, Oct. 12, Anthony Correa was seriously injured during a robbery at his apartment near the intersection of Winnetka Avenue and Sherman Way. When Officer Megan Webb of the Los Angeles Police Department arrived at the scene Correa described three male assailants, two black men and one white, and said one of the men was named Devin.

Their preliminary hearings had been scheduled for Friday but both defendants’ legal counsels moved to have their client’s hearing rescheduled. Hildebrand’s preliminary hearing will now be within 15 days of Tuesday, Nov. 24, and Duckett’s will be within seven days of Tuesday, Dec. 8. Duckett declined requests for comment at the advice of his attorney, but Hildebrand said he is wrongfully accused.

“I’m innocent, and I didn’t do it,” he said. “They just blamed it on me.”

A source close to the investigation said the suspects intended to buy marijuana from Correa but the deal “went wrong” and the men attacked and robbed Correa, who suffered a broken jaw and lost at least one tooth in the attack. Both Hildebrand and Duckett were charged with first-degree robbery, a felony which carries a possible sentence of three to nine years in prison.

After Hildebrand left the courtroom, he said that he and Duckett were at the apartment, but said there was a third man involved, whom he called the sole assailant. The man’s name has been withheld because he has not been charged with a crime.

“I was the one who broke up the fight. I thought I was going there just to buy some weed,” Hildebrand said. “The witness told the police, ‘It was probably the white guy,’ and I was the only white guy there. But it wasn’t me.”

Correa said only that he was the victim of a violent assault, but declined to comment on the details of the case.


*The story was updated on Nov. 15 at 10:51 a.m. to properly obscure the identity of the uncharged individual.*