CANANDAIGUA — A Geneva teen who was with Jemar and Raequan McCall before and after they allegedly robbed a Hobart College student last summer testified Wednesday during the McCalls’ trial in Ontario County Court.
Iandre “Bubby” Robinson said he and the McCalls, who he called his friends, went out on the night of Aug. 25 to scare people by wearing white masks seen in horror movies. They were on bikes and later met up with two other local teens, Spencer Tapscott and Rashad Hudson.
At one point, the group went to Hobart and William Smith Colleges and came upon a number of students.
“Raequan asked them, ‘Where’s the party at?’” Robinson said.
The teens rode around town for awhile after that, and at about 10 p.m. Tapscott had to go home. Robinson said at that point, Jemar McCall said he wanted to rob someone and Raequan indicated he would go along.
“I said I’m not going to do anything,” Robinson said, adding that Hudson felt the same way.
Robinson also testified that Jemar McCall lifted his shirt to show them a gun in the waistband of his pants. Robinson said he didn’t know if the gun was real or a BB gun that looked like a handgun.
Robinson testified the group was about two or three blocks from the HWS campus at the time, and the McCalls left on foot. Robinson said he and Hudson later went to the Madison Street home of another Geneva teen, Nick Comatis, who was playing video games in his bedroom.
Talking to Comatis from a sidewalk near the home, Robinson asked Comatis to text Jemar McCall and ask him what he was doing. Robinson testified that the McCalls returned a short time later and said “they had an iPhone 6 from an Asian kid.”
During the trial on Tuesday, Hobart student Zhiyi “Ben” Chen testified that he was walking to his dormitory shortly after midnight on Aug. 26 when two black males — both with guns and one with a white mask — yelled at him to give up his belongings. They got away with his phone.
Robinson testified that he saw the phone after the McCalls returned and Jemar described the robbery. Robinson said he and the McCalls then went to his house on Washington Street, where the McCalls often spent the night, and later went to sleep.
Robinson said at some point after he fell asleep, the iPhone started making pinging noises.
“I kicked Jemar and told him to turn it off,” Robinson said.
During his testimony, Chen said he went to the Geneva Police Department after the robbery and used an app called “Find My iPhone” to locate the phone. Police went to Robinson’s house about 2 a.m. to ask him what he was doing earlier that night, and he told them he had been home for several hours.
“I told them I got home about 10, which was a lie,” he said. “I did it to protect my friends.”
Several times during questioning by District Attorney R. Michael Tantillo, Robinson had his heads in his hands.
“This isn’t easy for you, is it Iandre?” Tantillo asked.
“No,” Robinson replied.
Comatis also testified Wednesday, saying Robinson and Hudson showed up at his house and Robinson asked him to text Jemar McCall, which he did through Facebook. He got no response, but said McCall arrived minutes later with at least one other person before the entire group left.
Also testifying Wednesday was another Geneva teen, Dakota Wilson, who was heading to the Washington Street park on the afternoon of Aug. 25 to play basketball when he saw Robinson and a male with a mask riding bikes. He believed the other person was Raequan McCall.
Wilson said he heard about the robbery the next day from his parents and told police about the masked person he saw the day before.
Two Geneva General Hospital employees also testified Wednesday. Susan Robinson said she was near the front entrance of the hospital on the afternoon of Aug. 25 when an African-American male carrying a white mask entered the facility.
After hearing of the robbery the next day, she went to hospital security and asked to see video from surveillance cameras. It showed a male, with a mask perched on his head, matching the description of the one Robinson saw walking the hallways.
The other GGH employee, security guard Cody Weigand, identified the male as Raequan McCall. Weigand said he and other security guards had approached McCall previously about trespassing at the hospital.
Three Geneva police officers testified Wednesday as well. Officer Alex Colburn responded to the HWS campus after hearing of the robbery and spoke to Chen and a William Smith student, Jasmine Gonzalez, who walked up on the scene.
Colburn also testified that Chen tracked his phone through the app and got a signal from the area of Washington Street and Norwood Avenue, where Robinson lived.
Officer John VanSavage testified that during the evening of Aug. 25, he saw Raequan McCall riding his bike on Exchange Street and a white mask was on his head.
On questioning by Jemar McCall’s attorney, Gerald Forcier, VanSavage said a K-9 from the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office tracked a possible suspect to the Garden Apartments on Pulteney Street after the robbery. VanSavage said they talked to the person the dog led them to, but he denied involvement and was not considered a suspect.
The final testimony of the day came from Geneva PD Detective Brian Choffin, who questioned Robinson several times after getting information from tips and other sources. Choffin said after originally sticking to his story of being home by 10 p.m., Robinson implicated the McCalls.
Jemar McCall, 19, and Raequan McCall, 16, face felony charges of first- and second-degree robbery for an alleged Aug. 26, 2016 incident near Bristol Gym on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. A male student told police he was robbed by two people who displayed handguns, with one wearing a mask, and they took his telephone.
In a separate case, the McCalls face charges of robbery, assault, riot and inciting a riot related to June 6 incidents on the Geneva General Hospital campus and North Main Street in the city. Those incidents took place after classes let out that day at Geneva High School.
Police said the first incident started in the parking lot of Geneva General. A second disturbance took place just minutes later on North Main Street, with dozens of teens congregating on the street, on driveways and on lawns.
Several young people suffered minor injuries in the incidents, which resulted in dozens of police officers from different agencies responding to the city. The brothers were later indicted by a county grand jury.
Last month, the McCalls rejected an offer to plead guilty to the charges in both cases and receive 10-year prison sentences. It was the second time they rejected the offer, which would include five years of parole.
District Attorney R. Michael Tantillo, who is prosecuting both cases, said the riot charges will be tried separately later this year.