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2 Suspects in Fatal Jewelry Store Heist Plead Not Guilty

October 14, 1992|THOM MROZEK | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Two people arrested last week on charges of gunning down an innnocent bystander during a daring smash-and-grab robbery of a La Jolla jewelry store on Mother's Day pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of murder, conspiracy and robbery.

Authorities did not announce the arrests of Alton Pierce and Jenifer Inez Arce, who were taken into custody last Thursday, in the hope of avoiding publicity that may hinder their ability to arrest "several others" wanted in the case.

Brian Sullivan was shot in the head May 10 by one person among a trio of armed and masked robbers who boldly walked into the Jessop & Sons Jewelers on Prospect Avenue in the middle of the afternoon. Sullivan was the only customer in the store at the time, and witnesses said that he did not make any furtive movements that would have caused the robbers to open fire.

Sullivan, 34, clung to life in a hospital bed for five days after the shooting.

Giving an answer characteristic of the official response to questions about the case, Deputy Dist. Atty. Peter Cross would not say if either Pierce or Arce is suspected of doing the actual shooting.

Pierce, a 29-year-old Bakersfield man who is known by a variety of aliases including "Magic Spike," was ordered held without bail by San Diego Municipal Court Judge Nicholas Kasimatis.

Cross said that Pierce formerly lived in Los Angeles. Prosecutors have alleged that he was convicted of two theft- related felonies there in 1982 and 1984 and of burglary in Ventura County in 1984.

Arce, 21, is from San Diego, Cross said. She is being held in lieu of $2 million bail.

Kasimatis scheduled a bail review hearing for Friday, when prosecutors may be forced to reveal many additional details about the investigation in order to justify the high bail figures.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Dec. 3.

In addition to the other suspect in the Jessop's robbery, investigators are also searching for three shotgun-armed people involved in another smash-and-grab robbery at another jewelry store half a block away. In both incidents, the attackers were wearing black, ninja-style clothing.

At the same time that Sullivan was shot and robbers were scooping the gems into their bags, bandits were robbing C. J. Charles Jewelers Ltd.

The getaway cars used in the robberies were both found in Pacific Beach.

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