A Marin County Superior Court judge is expected to decide this week if Max Wade, the 18-year-old San Rafael resident who stands accused of the attempted shooting murders of two other teens in Homestead Valley and the theft of celebrity chef Guy Fieri's Lamborghini, will stand trial.
Attorneys for both sides are set to deliver their closing arguments Monday in a two-pronged case that began in the aftermath of the April 13 shooting that sent shockwaves through a quiet Homestead Valley neighborhood. The investigation by Marin County Sheriff’s detectives eventually led them to Wade, who they connected to the from the British Motor Car Distributors building in San Francisco.
The preliminary hearing in the case began Tuesday and featured testimony from the two shooting victims, Landon Wahlstrom, 19, and Eva Dedier, 18, who were shot at as they sat in Wahlstrom's Dodge truck on Evergreen and Ethel avenues on April 13. Neither victim was struck by bullets, but both were cut by the flying glass.
The hearing also included testimony from law enforcement officials about the elaborate Lamborghini heist as well as Wade’s April 28 arrest outside a Richmond storage facility where detectives said he was keeping the car, an incident in which detectives said Wade was armed and resisted arrest.
San Francisco police Inspector Matthew Hanley said the thief climbed down a rope attached to the roof of the two-story building at 999 Van Ness Ave. and entered through an open window on the second floor.
The thief's entry did not trigger motion sensors inside the building, nor along the outside perimeter, Hanley said, and the thief left the building in the car at 4:48 a.m. by cutting a lock on a roll-up gate. The building's alarm system was not activated until employees entered at 6 a.m., he said.
San Francisco police Officer Sean Rogers testified that he found an "intricate rope set up" on the roof of the dealership from which the yellow Lamborghini was stolen, with the rope dangling past a second-floor window, according to the Marin Independent Journal. “Rogers also found bolt cutters, a pry bar and a cut lock at the open roll-up door through which the car thief apparently absconded,” the paper reported.
A video showed a suspect who is less than 6 feet tall and weighs less than 200 pounds, Hanley said. The thief's face was not visible, but it appeared his skin was white or tan. He was wearing what appeared to be climbing equipment, and was inside the building for between 15 and 20 minutes.
A janitor was working at the time of the theft, but there was no contact between the janitor and the thief on the video, Hanley said.
Hanley said Tiburon police later informed him that the Lamborghini – sporting a “GUTORO” license plate - had entered that town at 5:03 a.m., or about 15 minutes after it left the auto dealership. It was captured again by town surveillance cameras leaving Tiburon with different license plates, Hanley testified.
Tiburon police Officer Jerome Wachowiak said a Tiburon resident reported that she realized the license plates had been stolen from her black Audi on day earlier, on March 7, according to the IJ.
Tiburon has surveillance cameras at both ends of town, Hanley explained.
"Everyone in Marin County knew about it," he said of the Lamborghini theft. "It was in the papers. Anyone driving it would be caught."
When asked by defense attorney Charles Dresow if he would "opine"
whether the theft was a one-person job, Hanley said he would not.
Marin County sheriff's Detective Ryan Petersen testified about the day of Wade's arrest at a storage facility in Richmond where he had allegedly been keeping the Lamborghini. Petersen said detectives were conducting surveillance on the storage locker and were waiting for him when he exited the facility around 7 p.m. on April 28.
When he saw the detectives, Wade fled, grabbing his waistband as he backed up and then ran, Petersen testified. Petersen said he and another detective blocked Wade's path in their car. Wade fell to the ground when a detective kicked him in the ribs, and was handcuffed after a struggle.
"He was flailing his arms back and forth. He was actively fighting us," Petersen said.
Petersen said he struck Wade twice in the pelvis with a closed fist.
Detectives recovered a loaded Glock handgun with a magazine containing at least one bullet, and found three more magazines in Wade's pockets, Petersen said. They also found a motorcycle, cache of weapons and ammunition, fake IDs for three states, equipment to jam cell phone signals, a San Francisco Police uniform.
The testimony is part of a preliminary hearing that will allow Judge Kelly Simmons to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to hold Wade for trial. Prosecutors in the case have suggested that Wade should face additional charges for trying to pull a loaded gun on the detectives who came to arrest him, the Marin IJ reported.
In the weeks after Wade's arrest, the already colorful case took on an even more sensational nature when a pair of Marin rappers released a song and music video as a tribute to Wade. And in the early morning hours of August 10, the day he turned 18 and was set to be transferred out of Juvenile Hall, Wade apparently was the target of an attempted break-in to free him.
He was transferred to Marin County Jail later that day and remains in custody on $2 million bail. Wade plead not guilty to the charges in June. The preliminary hearing is expected to last three days.
--Bay City News Service contributed to this report.