Sixth man surrenders in Simpson case
EmptyLAS VEGAS -- The sixth and final man sought in the armed robbery case against O.J. Simpson surrendered Friday before a Las Vegas judge, who arraigned him on 10 criminal charges and set bail at $32,000.
Charles Bruce Ehrlich, 53, was taken into custody immediately after appearing with his lawyer before Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure Jr.
Outside court, Ehrlich's lawyer, John Moran Jr., said Ehrlich will plead not guilty.
"He's not a principal in this thing," Moran said of allegations that Ehrlich joined Simpson and the other men in kidnapping and stealing sports memorabilia from two collectors last week.
Ehrlich later posted bail, police said. Moran said Ehrlich planned to return home to the Miami area.
Ehrlich faces the same charges as four other co-defendants, including Charles Cashmore, 40, of Las Vegas, who was arraigned Friday on 10 kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy charges. A kidnapping conviction could result in a sentence of life in prison with parole. Simpson faces one additional charge of felony coercion.
Cashmore's lawyer, Edward Miley, acknowledged that Cashmore was convicted in 1997 of a misdemeanor in a bad check case in Utah, and has a bad check charge pending in Las Vegas.
"He has essentially no funds at this point to post any kind of bail," Miley said.
The judge set bail at $32,000 for Cashmore and scheduled him for a preliminary hearing Oct. 4 -- the same bail and date he set Thursday for another co-defendant in the case, Michael McClinton, 50, of Las Vegas.
"I do have to differentiate between the, now, six defendants in this case in determining bail," said Bonaventure, who set bail at $125,000 for Simpson on Wednesday.
Another co-defendant, Clarence Stewart, 53, of Las Vegas, was freed Monday on $78,000 bail after surrendering to police and turning over some of the items taken in the Sept. 13 encounter.
"They all have different ties to the community," the judge said. "They all have different involvements in the allegations here. However, what's common here is that they are all facing very serious charges."
Walter Alexander, 46, of Mesa, Ariz., was freed Sept. 15 without bail after he was arrested on his way to the airport and provided statements about the case to investigators, police said.
Ehrlich's lawyer characterized Ehrlich as an "acquaintance" of Simpson's and said his part in the alleged theft was "a non-role."
Ehrlich is a real estate salesman and developer who before 1990 served probation on a trafficking in a controlled substance charge in another state, Moran said. He declined to provide details.
Moran characterized Ehrlich as "dumbfounded" to see newspaper photos showing him and Cashmore carrying items out of the Palace Station hotel-casino. The photos, drawn from casino surveillance videotapes, were released by Las Vegas police.
Prosecutors accuse Simpson of leading the five men as they burst into a hotel room at a Las Vegas casino, displayed guns, and stole autographed footballs and other collectible items.
Simpson, 60, flew home to Miami after spending three nights in a Las Vegas jail.
Alexander has called the encounter between Simpson and memorabilia dealers Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong a "setup" arranged by a go-between, Tom Riccio, a California memorabilia dealer. Riccio has denied that allegation.
Beardsley, 46, an ex-convict from Burbank, Calif., was arrested Wednesday and was jailed pending his return to custody in California to face a parole violation on a stalking conviction.
Fromong, 53, is recovering in a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a heart attack Monday.