There is evidence that three Santa Rosa men plotted to steal an armored car in August carrying millions of dollars, but there's but no proof they were going to kidnap the guards during the heist, a judge ruled Tuesday.
The findings in the Garda Cash Logistics case eliminates the possibility of life prison sentences for defendants Monico Dominguez, 39, Juan Dominguez Jr., 26, and Shawn Geernaert, 33.
Judge Ken Gnoss ruled that all three may be tried on charges of planning the aborted Aug. 6 holdup at the Northpoint Parkway facility -- allegations carrying stiff prison sentences. But Gnoss said the planned movement of guards during the robbery was either not proven or too insignificant to constitute abduction.
In announcing his finding, Gnoss also said there was clear evidence that Monico Dominguez took part in last year's robbery of nearly $1 million from the same Garda location.
Gnoss said clothing found in Monico Dominguez's home matched black attire worn by one of the two robbers in a surveillance video. Also, he said similarities between the earlier holdup and the August attempt implicate the elder Dominguez.
The judge rejected arguments from Geernaert, a local cabinetmaker, that he was unaware of plans to commit a crime when he gave the others access to his shop and work truck.
Gnoss said there is circumstantial evidence that he was involved, citing a phone call between Geernaert and Monico Dominguez the night of the planned robbery along with statements from an informant that Geernaert was to receive $50,000.
Now, Monico Dominguez faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted of the remaining charges. Juan Dominguez and Geernaert could be sentenced to five or six years behind bars, a lawyer in the case estimated.
All three remain in custody on at least $1 million bail each. Gnoss said he would consider reducing Geernaert's bail to $30,000 at the next hearing on Nov. 9.
He denied a request from Monico Dominguez to be released to attend a funeral for his brother, who was killed in a Vallejo homicide last week, his lawyer said.
Prosecutors believe Monico Dominguez and another masked man described as having blue eyes stormed the Garda warehouse with assault rifles on Aug. 11, 2011, and made off with bags of cash totaling about $990,000.
The other robber remains at large.
Police said Monico Dominguez was planning a second heist on Aug. 6. He and Juan Dominguez, his nephew, were going to steal an entire truck and drive it to Geernaert's shop, prosecutors allege.
After removing the money, they were planning to ditch the truck nearby, according to the complaint.
But the plan was foiled with the help of an informant recruited by Monico Dominguez to help with the robbery, prosecutors said.
When the man learned of a reward in the 2011 robbery, he went to police and later wore a hidden microphone to record his conversations with Monico and Juan Dominguez, according to testimony.
You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.