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Man to stand trial for C’bad jewelry heist

CARLSBAD — Ten days before last Halloween, Gaylene Taylor believes she came face to face with Satan. While performing her opening duties at Mulloys Fine Jewelry store on State Street in Carlsbad, a masked man appeared and forced her to the ground at gunpoint. Taylor’s testimony came during the preliminary hearing on Feb. 24 for 52-year-old John Leslie Davis, who is charged with committing the robbery. “He was there out of nowhere,” testified Taylor, a manager for the jewelry store. “He was like the devil to me.”
As she laid face down on the ground, Taylor testified she could hear the masked man, who was dressed from head to toe in dark clothing, going through the safe. Quivering as she spoke from the witness stand, Taylor said she kept repeating aloud the Lords Prayer, over and over. “I don’t know what you like, I don’t care what you look like,” she said she told him. “Just take what you want and get out of here.” Neither Taylor nor her co-worker, who was also in the store that morning, could identify Davis in court. However, under cross-examination by Leslie’s attorney, Michael Washington, both women admitted they had told police the robber was soft-spoken with a possible Hispanic accent; Davis is black. Carlsbad police Officer Trevor Winters testified he found an opening in the ceiling of the store’s employee bathroom, which led to the attic where another hole was found in the store’s roof. In the attic space, Winters said he found scattered jewelry, dark clothing, a paint ball mask and an air soft pistol. Mulloys lost more than $84,000 in the jewel heist, Carlsbad police Detective Patrick Preston testified. When police arrested Davis on Feb. 5, Preston said he had in his possession a head lamp, black cloth gloves, a felt jewelry case and a pawn slip for a marquee half-karat diamond he pawned in November that was similar to one stolen from the jewelry store. Further, in Davis’ residence, which at the time he shared with a Hispanic man, police found empty jewelry boxes in a lockbox, the detective said. Preston said a DNA examination of the pistol and mask revealed Davis as a major contributor. Davis remains out of custody. A trial date was set for April 14.