Three people were ordered to stand trial today on multiple felony charges for a series of 25 home invasion robberies in Oakland over an eight-month period last year. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gloria Rhynes issued her ruling against 25-year-old Romier Simmons, of Stockton, 24-year-old Christopher Malbrough, of Hayward, and 21-year-old Kyra Bayless, of Milpitas, at the end of a preliminary hearing that met intermittently for nearly three months and included 35 witnesses. Rhynes ruled that prosecutor George Wood presented sufficient evidence to warrant sending the case to a trial jury. The judge ordered Simmons and Malbrough to stand trial on a total of 79 felony counts each, including 49 home invasion robbery counts. Other charges against the two men include burglary and assault. Bayless, who was Malbrough’s girlfriend, was ordered to stand trial on four counts of home invasion robbery and one count of assault. In announcing the charges against the three suspects in January, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said Malbrough, who is on parole for a previous residential robbery conviction, could face up to 500 years in state prison if he is convicted of all the charges against him. Simmons, who has a prior conviction for being an accessory after the fact to a felony, could face 300 years, she said. Bayless could face about 40 years, according to O’Malley. Oakland police said the home invasion robbery spree began in March 2010 and involved more than 70 victims, whose ages ranged from 2 to 69. A break in the case led to Simmons being arrested on Nov. 23. Malbrough was arrested in December, and Bayless was arrested in January. O’Malley said most of the victims were Asian immigrants but some were Hispanic. Sgt. Randy Wingate, who led the investigation, said police believe that the suspects targeted the victims because they are immigrants and do not speak English well, although the suspects did not admit that. All three suspects live outside Oakland, but Wingate said Simmons and Malbrough were born and raised in Oakland and know the city well. He said it appears that the suspects were driving through Oakland and spotted victims of opportunity. The suspects’ alleged pattern was to see people in front of their homes and then follow them inside, where they held people hostage and stole their cash, jewelry, and electronics, Wingate said. The robberies occurred from the Lake Merritt area to High Street, he said. Simmons, Malbrough and Bayless are scheduled to return to court on June 22 to have a trial date set.
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