When Bryan Adebisi Eno celebrated his 22nd birthday, last year, he probably had no idea he'd be spending his 23rd birthday in jail. But after pleading guilty last week to robbery, that's exactly where he went.
HOWEVER, he didn't admit outright that he did it. He entered an Alford plea, thereby acknowledging the prosecution has enough evidence to convict him of that offense.
"Are you entering your plea of guilty, freely and voluntarily, and because you are, in fact, guilty as charged?" asked Circuit Court Judge Jane Roush. "Yes, ma'am," replied Eno.
Fairfax County police arrested both Eno, of 5941 Havener House Way in Centreville's Newgate community, and Kebrebeal M. Yimam, 18, of 2425 Merrybrook Drive, No. 303 in Herndon, on March 29. Each was charged with robbing a 32-year-old Chantilly man in the Meadows of Chantilly community.
In court last Tuesday, July 31, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Robert McClain said the victim was "riding a bike to his home in a Chantilly trailer park when three people in a red, Jeep Cherokee approached him. Two of them got out and took $276 from his pockets."
Robbery Det. Eric Deane also presented details of the Nov. 12, 2006 crime in a March 29 affidavit for a warrant to search Eno's home. The incident occurred around 12:15 a.m. on Airline Parkway near Lufthansa Circle, and the victim was on his way home from work.
According to Deane, the Jeep's driver turned off the vehicle's lights and pulled into the man's path. Three black males then exited the Jeep and confronted the bicyclist.
"The first subject asked the victim a question and then pulled a silver handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the victim's head," wrote the detective. "A second male tried to push the victim off of his bike." Deane wrote that this assailant also held the victim down and tried to remove a necklace from his neck.
"A THIRD SUBJECT removed the victim's wallet from the back pocket of his pants," added Deane. "After taking these items from the victim, all three subjects ran back to the Jeep, got inside and fled."
"Through investigation, several suspects were interviewed," McClain told the court. "And that led to the arrest of several co-defendants who implicated Eno as one of the men who got out of the car that night and robbed [the victim]." Both Eno and Yimam were charged with robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
McClain said the others also fingered Eno as the one who'd brought the gun that was used. "The victim said a silver gun was used, and the co-defendants said it was a black pellet gun," said the prosecutor. "A .22-caliber pistol and pellet guns were found in the defendant's home."
Police also seized from his home: Two, 40-caliber, firearm casings; a magazine with five, .22-caliber bullets; eight shell casings and a target. The grand jury indicted Eno on June 18. He was scheduled for a July 31 jury trial, but instead entered a plea. Yimam has an Aug. 21 court date.
Eno's attorney, Leon Demsky, said his client "has had four months of stress over this and was told that other charges might be levied against him" if he didn't plead guilty in this case.
Demsky said the victim didn't recognize Eno at his preliminary hearing; he also said Eno had an alibi and wasn't found at the scene. However, Demsky admitted that the other suspects had implicated Eno so, if he stood trial, he could have been convicted.
"I find the evidence of guilt is overwhelming and substantially negates" [any plea to the contrary]," Judge Roush told Eno. "So I think you've wisely concluded to enter this plea. Do you understand that, by doing so, you're losing your right to a trial by jury and to confront and cross-examine any witnesses against you?" Again, Eno answered, "Yes, ma'am."
ROUSH THEN noted that, because Eno pleaded guilty to robbery, the Commonwealth dropped his firearm charge and agreed not to pursue other possible robbery charges against him from incidents in mid-December 2005. She also remarked that no plea agreement had been made regarding his sentence.
"Do you understand you could be sentenced to anywhere from five years to life in prison?" asked the judge. Eno replied affirmatively. Roush accepted his plea, found him guilty of robbery and set sentencing for Sept. 21. She then told Eno: "Any bond is revoked and you are remanded to the custody of the sheriff."