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Armed robbery trial under way

August 28, 1998

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The trial for a man charged in an armed robbery at Berkeley Gardens apartments in Martinsburg started Thursday.

Lynis Nathaniel Ellerbe, 18, whose last known address was in the 100 block of Warm Springs Avenue, Martinsburg, is standing trial on charges of aggravated robbery, attempted kidnapping and wanton endangerment, court officials said.

Ellerbe's trial is expected to continue at least through today in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

West Virginia State Police said a man foiled an armed robbery at the apartment complex when he wrestled a gun from a man in the parking lot of Berkeley Gardens apartments.

Trooper Carl Mahood's report said he went to the apartment complex at about 1 a.m. and met the victim, Rahill Nawaz II of Martinsburg. Nawaz said he left a friend's apartment and was going to his Toyota 4-Runner when a man approached him and stuck a gun in his back, police said.

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The man ordered Nawaz to hand over his keys and two other men got into the vehicle, police said. The man then told Nawaz to get in the back seat, police said.

Instead, Nawaz reached around and grabbed the barrel of the handgun and fought with the man. During the struggle, the man pulled the trigger repeatedly, but the gun did not fire, according to police.

The other two men got out of the vehicle and began strangling Nawaz, police alleged. Nawaz managed to get the loaded .22-caliber revolver, and ran back to his friend's apartment in Building 308, the report said.

Nawaz identified the gunman by name, according to the report. He described him as wearing a gray pullover shirt, dirty brown boots and a black cap.

Mahood found Ellerbe in an apartment in Building 203, the report said.

-Dave McMillion

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