More charges possible for councilman’s aide in connection with robberies

Kelly Goff (Los Angeles Daily News) | April 19, 2014

An aide to Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks was arrested last week in connection with the armed robbery of a Hesperia smoke shop may soon face additional charges and is possibly linked to additional robberies in the Inland Empire, a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said Saturday.

Kearia Brown was arrested April 11 after a search of her home turned up evidence she may have helped plan a violent robbery during which two masked men assaulted one of the store’s owners and another victim, and she may have helped the men attempt to evade capture.

Brown’s husband, Jermaine Brown, and a second man, Sterling Ghoston, were arrested by sheriff’s deputies soon after the robbery. A concerned witness followed the two men as they fled the smoke shop in a car. They ended up in a cul-de-sac and bailed out on foot after crashing into a fence. Deputies set up a perimeter search and located the two men. Both have extensive criminal histories and remain in custody.

“We believe this crew will be connected to a number of unsolved robberies,” said Susan Rose, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department. During a search of the Browns’ home in Adelanto, investigators uncovered a list of smoke shops in the area as well as other evidence, she said.

During the April 11 robbery, investigators believe Kearia Brown was in a second car nearby, listening to a police scanner and alerting the two men how to avoid authorities who were combing the area.

Kearia Brown was charged with armed robbery and conspiracy and was released Monday on $100,000 bail.

Ghoston and Jermaine Brown were both charged with armed robbery and kidnapping during the commission of a robbery, which could carry a life sentence. Jermaine Brown remains in custody on a no bail hold for parole violation. Ghoston is also being held without bail for violating the terms of his probation on a previous conviction.

Rose said gang-related enhancements to the charges are also likely for all three.

Parks’ chief of staff, his son Bernard Parks Jr., confirmed Kearia Brown had worked for the councilman’s office since 2006. She worked in a part-time capacity until 2010, when she was made a full-time employee. He described her position as a low-level administrative assistant role.

Parks said Brown has been placed on paid leave, but declined to further address her arrest, calling it a personnel issue.

“We’re working to get all the information right now,” he said. “We hope to have a resolution soon.”

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