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Baseball bat armed robbery case moves on to Superior Court
Teen accused of robbing former co-worker, beating him with bat
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Christopher Herrera listens as others speak during his committal hearing Friday in Hall County Magistrate Court. Herrera is facing charges of aggravated battery and armed robbery over a Jan. 19 incident. - photo by Erin O. Smith

A Gainesville man claimed his cellphone had been stolen 10 to 15 minutes before an alleged assault occurred on Jan. 19.

Christopher John Herrera, 18, appeared in Magistrate Court Friday morning for a committal hearing on charges of aggravated battery and armed robbery. He is accused of robbing a former co-worker of his wallet and beating him with a baseball bat.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Tom Wilson said he first spoke with Alberto Venegas, the victim, at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center through an interpreter.

Wilson testified about the victim’s account of a man that “approached him with a baseball bat asking for his wallet” while waiting for a ride in the early morning of Jan. 19 near Lamplighter Cove and Browns Bridge roads.

“He refused to give him his wallet, at which time the subject began striking him repeatedly with the baseball bat and then was able to get his wallet before fleeing the scene,” Wilson said.

Wilson said Venegas suffered a broken arm and had damage to both arms.

“He was struck across his back several times, which left bruising and raised welts,” Wilson said.

Two witnesses driving in the area saw the altercation and assisted Venegas, Wilson said. One witness gave chase to the suspect.

“During this chase, he was able to get the baseball bat, as the suspect continued to run,” Wilson said.

The witnesses identified Herrera based on the image on the locked screen of a cellphone found at the scene, Wilson said.

Herrera later reported that his cellphone had been stolen and met with Wilson for an interview.

“During his interview, Mr. Herrera said he had woken up and couldn’t find his cellphone, so (he) went out to his vehicle,” Wilson said.

Herrera said his phone was stolen from his car around 6 a.m., though there was no forced entry.

Defense attorney Brett Willis questioned Wilson on the visibility conditions at the early hour and how Herrera was identified as the suspect.

Wilson said the two had previously worked together at the same company.

The case was sent on to Superior Court.

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