Armed robbery case moved to higher court

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Gwinnett Magistrate Court judge advanced armed robbery charges against four teens, including two Meadowcreek football standouts, to a higher court Wednesday, keeping them behind bars into a third week.

Magistrate Judge Gene Cantrell bound all charges to Gwinnett Superior Court after a detective testified the alleged robbery victim was between 90 and 100 percent sure he recognized the four teens in photo lineups prepared by police.

The suspects - Sean Frezell, Simon Terzian, both 18, Cory Huck and Atiim Henderson, both 17 - are accused of robbing a Hispanic man at gunpoint Nov. 3 in an apartment complex parking lot near Norcross.

Gwinnett police Detective Keith Wiggins testified at a probable cause hearing that Terzian held a handgun to the victim's face, while Huck threatened to punch him and the other two lifted his wallet. They pinched $700 and a Motorola Razr cell phone from the victim and ran away, he said.

The alleged victim told police he didn't know his assailants. He hasn't offered an explanation as to why he was carrying hundreds in cash, Wiggins said.

The money, wallet and cell phone have not been recovered. Police executing a warrant at Terzian's home found a 9 mm handgun, which the suspect's father claimed, and two replica handguns, Wiggins testified.

Police have found no other eyewitnesses, and the apartment

complex isn't equipped with surveillance, Wiggins said.

Before they were implicated in the robbery, all four teens were arrested at the same apartment complex, Orchard Park apartments, on loitering and prowling charges.

Defense attorneys hinted the victim may have recognized the teens' mug shots from broadcast and newspaper reports, which detailed their first arrests and were published before the lineup was compiled. Wiggins said the victim maintained he'd only seen them the night he was robbed.

Drew Findling, attorney for Terzian, argued that initial reports taken at the robbery scene were vague and the later arrests at the same complex could be coincidental.

"There doesn't seem to be any plan to investigate this case, other than a supervisor saying, 'Hey, why don't you investigate these guys?'" Findley said.

In the photo lineups, the teens' mug shots were mixed with inmates in the Gwinnett County Jail who have similar ethnicities and physical characteristics, Wiggins said.

A bond hearing for all four teens is expected today in Gwinnett Superior Court.

Frezell, Huck and Henderson are on the Mustangs' current football roster, while Terzian played last year.

Frezell finished the 2008 season as Gwinnett's leading passer, while Huck was the county's third-leading receiver.