Judge Divides Trial of Alleged Robber Into 4

A judge Wednesday split up the 56 robbery and attempted-robbery charges against the alleged "Walk to the Back" bandit and ordered that four trials be held instead of one.

The decision to grant the separate trials for Paul William Bresney, 38, of San Diego, was made by Superior Court Judge J. Perry Langford.

Bresney is accused of committing numerous robberies in dozens of stores in El Cajon, La Mesa, San Diego and North County, in which the victim, typically a cashier, was ordered to the back of the store.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Kerry Wells said she will appeal Langford's decision to the 4th District Court of Appeal.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin today, but could be delayed by the appellate court.

Langford ruled that prosecutors should only have 15 charges per trial, and that the last trial would have 11.

Defense attorney Charles Elliott urged the judge to order separate trials on grounds that so many counts tried together would be "prejudicial" to his client.

If convicted of all charges, Bresney could be sentenced to a maximum of 62 years in state prison, said Elliott.

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