Man ordered to trial in suspected kidnapping, carjacking of taxi driver
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 04/23/19 - 08:25 AM | 3559 views | 3 3 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Blue tinted monotone image of a gavel and scales of justice
Blue tinted monotone image of a gavel and scales of justice
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A San Diego man was ordered April 19 to stand trial for allegedly robbing two clerks at gunpoint in a Sports Arena Boulevard 7-Eleven store and kidnapping a taxi driver who was forced to drive him away.

Lilia Rojo, 26, the store manager of the 7-Eleven store at 3146 Sports Arena Blvd., identified Steven Raymond Stogsdill, 38, as the man who walked into the store wearing a partial black mask at 7:53 a.m. on Jan. 8.

"I was about to tell him to take off his mask, but he pulled out a gun," said Rojo.

Rojo said the robber fired one shot and yelled, "give me all the (expletive) money!" The shot was fired over the shoulder of another clerk, Sara Rojo, who is the manager's sister, and a bullet was found later lodged in a cabinet.

"I was afraid he would shoot us if we didn't give him the money," said Lilia Rojo.

Sara Rojo said there were 10 customers in the store at the time. She told San Diego Superior Court Judge Fred Link that she nervously put in an incorrect code and had trouble opening her cash register.

"He ran out to get a taxi.  He pointed (the gun) at the taxi driver," said Sara Rojo. "As soon as he was leaving, we called the cops."

During the preliminary hearing, a security guard, Craig Womack, testified the robber pointed a gun at him before he pointed it to the taxi driver's head and forced him to drive away.

Womack said he was not armed, but he called 911. Womack identified Stogsdill as the robber.

The cab driver, Tsegai Tekle, said he picked up Stogsdill at the Old Town Trolley station and drove him to the 7-Eleven store. Stogsdill asked him to wait for him and he ran into the cab after leaving the store.

"Let's go! Let's go," Tekle quoted Stogsdill as telling him. "Drive fast! Drive fast!"

Tekle said he heard a police siren as he drove up Rosecrans Street.

"If you stop for them, I will shoot you!" Tekle quoted Stogsdill as telling him. "I got scared."

Another car blocked the taxi driver's vehicle at Nimitz Boulevard, and Tekle testified that he ran out of the car. Police officers then arrested Stogsdill after he got out of the car and ran a short distance.

The taxi driver said Stogsdill wore a partial mask when he picked him up at the trolley station, but he heard him coughing, and thought it was a medical mask. The driver said he had driven taxis for 20 years.

Officer Scott Springer testified he found $82 in cash in the back seat and found another $40 on Stogsdill. He recovered a Glock handgun and a black mask.

Detective Brandon Gaines testified a bullet was found in a cabinet and it had struck a carton of cigarettes. 

Deputy District Attorney Kelsey Hollander and defense attorney Brian McNeil submitted the case to Link without argument.

Link ordered Stogsdill to stand trial June 7 for two armed robberies, kidnapping during a robbery and carjacking, and assault with a deadly weapon on the security guard.

Hollander said the two kidnapping charges carry a life sentence if Stogsdill is convicted.

McNeil said Stogsdill won two Purple Hearts when he was in the Army during his 10-year career. Stogsdill pleaded not guilty at the end of the hearing.  He remains in jail on $2 million bail.

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