Charges in armed robbery dismissed; DA may refile

After time ran out on a court rule requiring either a preliminary hearing to be held or a grand jury make an indictment, three felony charges have been dismissed against Dellna Vanbuskirk, a Homer man Homer Police alleged robbed at gunpoint the Short Stop Tesoro Gas Station in January, taking cash and cigarettes.

Vanbuskirk, 30, also was charged with robbing a friend in Anchor Point. Two charges of first-degree robbery and a charge of second-degree theft were dismissed. Police also named Vanbuskirk as the suspect in a Dec. 28, 2015, armed robbery of the Fat Olives Espresso.

Vanbuskirk attended telephonically from Wildwood Pretrial Facility at a hearing on June 14. His attorney, Joy Hobart, told the court Vanbuskirk wanted to go forward on all three charges — that is, that he would not stop the clock on Rule 5, the criminal rule requiring a preliminary hearing or indictment.

Vanbuskirk remains in custody at Wildwood. He also faces other charges related to his arrest on the robbery charges, including resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, and a charge of third-degree escape when he attempted to run from a jail van while being transported from Homer to Wildwood.

Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said he talked to Kenai District Attorney Scot Leaders after hearing of the dismissals. Robl said Leaders assured him the dismissed charges would be refiled.

“The state may still proceed through grand jury process to pursue the charges,” Leaders said in a phone interview. “We’ll still continue to evaluate and figure out how to proceed.”

Robl said there also was a delay in getting a grand jury indictment because a Homer Police officer was on an extended vacation and not available to appear before the grand jury.

“These cases are not being dismissed,” Robl said.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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