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Searl trial pushed back again

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Robbery Fast n Friendly

Bolivar's Fast N Friendly East, located near the intersection of Mo. 32 and Rt. D, was robbed by two armed men at around 10:20 p.m., Friday, July 13, 2018.

The upcoming jury trial for a Colorado man and alleged gang member accused of robbing a Bolivar gas station at gunpoint has been continued a second time.

Following a hearing Friday, June 14, in Dallas County, Brandon Scott Searl, 31, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, will now face a Polk County jury Thursday and Friday, Oct 3-4, with 30th Circuit Judge Lisa Carter presiding, according to online court records.

Searl mug

Brandon Searl

The change comes after Carter sustained the state’s motion for continuance over the objection of Searl’s attorney, Stuart Huffman, special public defender. 

Searl’s trial was originally set for May 30-31, but it was reset in a May hearing for June 27-28.

The pretrial conference — and Searl’s last opportunity to obtain a plea deal — is Friday, July 12, according to court records. He remains in jail on $160,000 bond.  

Searl — affiliated with the MS-13 gang, according to court documents — is charged with class A felony first-degree robbery, felony armed criminal action, class D felony forgery and class D felony stealing.

Another person suspected of involvement in the robbery has an upcoming court date next month.

Elena M. Ornelas, 34, of Pueblo, Colorado, has a plea hearing set for Monday, July 8, at the Polk County Courthouse. She remains in jail on $150,000 bond.

Ornelas faces multiple felony charges, including class A felony first-degree robbery, felony armed criminal action, class D felony second-degree burglary and class D felony stealing.

Two local men have been sentenced for their roles in the robbery.  

Michael Frank Register, 17, of Cross Timbers pleaded guilty to class A felony first-degree robbery and class D felony stealing in March.

Judge Michael O’Brien Hendrickson sentenced him to seven years in prison on the stealing charge. The judge also sentenced him to 10 years in prison on the robbery charge, to run consecutively with the seven-year sentence. 

However, Hendrickson suspended execution of that sentence and ordered him to serve five years supervised probation after he completes his seven-year sentence, according to online records.

One other charge — felony armed criminal action — was dismissed in accordance to the plea deal.

Michael Register’s 19-year-old brother, Robert Register, of Warsaw also pleaded guilty to felony charges related to the same case.

According to online court records, Robert Register was sentenced to 120 days shock incarceration after pleading guilty to class A felony first-degree robbery and class D felony stealing.

The four suspects are accused of stealing around $920 of merchandise from Bolivar’s Walmart and robbing Bolivar’s Fast N Friendly East at gunpoint, stealing around $600, last July. They then led law enforcement on a high-speed pursuit through Polk County into Hickory County.

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