Two defendants accused of luring a man to a Hopewell Township home in order to rob him were held for court on Wednesday following a preliminary hearing that included inconsistent testimony by their accuser.
Thomas M. Burkett, 27, of East Freedom, and Ashley E. Clark, 33, of Hopewell, were in court on charges that Burkett robbed a man at gunpoint after Clark had taken him to her Raystown Road home on Sept. 1.
Burkett is facing charges of robbery, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property. Clark is charged with conspiracy to commit each of those crimes.
Clark was originally also charged with prostitution on allegations she had agreed to have sex with the man, Derik M. Delgrande-Vaughn, for $100, according to court documents.
The prostitution charge was dismissed during the preliminary hearing after Vaughn’s testimony contradicted what he initially told police.
“The key witness is the victim, and he was completely inconsistent with what he told state police,” said Public Defender Karen Ritchey, who represented Clark in the joint hearing. “... He was not credible today and not consistent.”
Vaughn did not mention an agreement with Clark during his testimony, instead saying he met with Clark to give her money because he was “nice guy.”
The two allegedly met in Everett and went to a gas station and McDonald’s before heading to Clarks home at 1387 Raystown Road, where a masked man allegedly robbed him at gunpoint.
Defense attorney Anthony Zanoni, representing Burkett, questioned the series of events that day and Vaughn’s difficulty in mapping out where the two went. Vaughn said he was unfamiliar with Bedford County and was not sure of the locations of where the two went.
Zanoni also asked Vaughn if he was able to identify the man who pointed the gun at him, which Vaughn said he was unable to do so because the robber was wearing a bandanna over his face and a hat. He noted he did not recognize Burkett, who was seated in the courtroom.
During his testimony, Tpr. Corey Ickes said Vaughn’s account of what happened that night was different than what he initially reported to police.
But Ickes also testified that Clark had told him Burkett was the man who robbed Vaughn after they had agreed to exchange money for a sexual act.
District Attorney Leslie Childers-Potts said she would dismiss the prostitution charge filed against Clark because of Vaughn’s testimony. She said Vaughn’s claim that he was robbed at gunpoint by an unidentified man was consistent with what he had initially told police.
District Judge H. Cyril Bingham bound the robbery-related charges to the Court of Common Pleas.
Both defendants are being lodged in the Bedford County Correctional Facility. Burkett is being held on $75,000 straight bail, while Clark’s bail was set at 10 percent of $50,000.