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Brothers in ’95 Van Nuys Holdup, Gun Battle Convicted

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two brothers accused of robbing a Van Nuys doctor’s office and engaging police in a running gun battle along a busy San Fernando Valley street were convicted by a jury Wednesday of committing more than a dozen felony offenses.

Lamont Mitchell, 23, and Michael Mitchell, 31, were found guilty by the jury of 11 women and one man on 13 counts--including robbery, carjacking, assault with a semiautomatic pistol and attempted murder--during the three-hour rampage in 1995.

Each man faces a possible maximum sentence of life in state prison.

“I think the jury fairly assessed the evidence,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Larry Morrison said afterward. “They did a good job.”

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Witnesses testified that the two brothers and another man, Charles Knight, entered a Van Nuys doctor’s office June 22, 1995, and demanded money and jewelry from three employees and five patients.

During the robbery, two employees were pistol-whipped and beaten. Witnesses said the men also threatened to kill a baby in its mother’s arms for “making too much noise.”

Prosecutors said the robbers then fled the doctor’s office, exchanging gunfire with police along the street, in a swap meet and at an apartment complex. In a brief moment of tension following his conviction, Lamont Mitchell refused to be handcuffed by a sheriff’s deputy. But he went willingly after being surrounded by five deputies.

Michael Mitchell will appear in court before Judge Kathryne Ann Stoltz for sentencing June 23, while his brother, facing a third strike, will be sentenced June 20. Charles Knight previously pleaded guilty to robbery, assault and carjacking charges and is awaiting sentencing.

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