Suspect accused of binding locals switches attorney

Robert Gidding, left, and Joaquin McKenzie have been charged for suspected felonies related to the May 31 home invasion reported off Highway 156.

The two men accused of binding and robbing two county residents
in late May had their preliminary exam hearings rescheduled today
at the San Benito County Courthouse.
HOLLISTER

The two men accused of binding and robbing two county residents in late May had their preliminary exam hearings rescheduled today at the San Benito County Courthouse.

Robert Gidding, 26, of Gilroy, and Joaquin McKenzie, 26, who doesn’t have a listed address on jail records, were in court today before Judge Steven Sanders for a scheduled preliminary examination hearing. Due to a substitution of attorneys, the hearing was rescheduled for Nov. 30.

Gidding and McKenzie are suspected of binding two residents at a home and robbing them May 30. When authorities incidentally ran across the subjects on another road, deputies arrested McKenzie and shortly thereafter, a large, black vehicle began driving at the officers at a rapid pace. Deputies fired around 15 rounds into the vehicle, only to have the driver, alleged to be Gidding, escape. Later, a Hollister police officer recognized Gidding and arrested him.

Public Defender Greg LaForge said that Gidding retained another attorney, San Jose-based Victor Vertner, for his case. That is why the hearing was moved to late November. McKenzie’s attorney is Harry Damkar.

Gidding and McKenzie are also scheduled to be in San Benito County court at 2 p.m. Nov. 17 for a confirmation hearing.

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