Protesters link arms as the face off with Santa Cruz police last... (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel

SANTA CRUZ - A judge declined Monday to issue an immediate ruling in the case of four people charged in connection with the takeover of a former bank last year to allow more time to research the legal issues involved.
"At first blush, I think the people may have some problems with these four defendants," Judge Paul Burdick said, after hearing the prosecution's evidence in a preliminary hearing Monday.
Cameron Laurendau, Franklin Alcantara, Edward Rector and Grant Wilson are among the 11 people charged after the takeover of the former Wells Fargo Bank at 75 River St. in late November and early December. They face felony charges of conspiracy and vandalism along with two misdemeanor counts of trespassing.
Detective David Guntner of the Santa Cruz Police Department, who led the investigation into the nearly 72-hour takeover, testified about the evidence, primarily photographs, used to identify those charged.
"Who vandalized the bank?" Alcantara's attorney, Jesse Ruben, asked.
"I don't know," replied Guntner, who said he viewed video of Alcantara entering and exiting the bank, but he didn't know how long he remained inside.
Those involved in the bank takeover left peacefully after nearly 72 hours of negotiations with police.
Burdick said the case posed a number of legal issues, including a lack of evidence proving the four defendants entered the building after being requested to leave. He ordered all four defendants, their attorneys and prosecutor Rebekah Young back to court Wednesday, when he's expected to issue a ruling on whether to hold the four to the charges.
Supporters of the so-called Santa Cruz Eleven have said the District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the constitutional right to protest. In a letter published in the Sentinel earlier this month, the American Civil Liberties Union's Santa Cruz County chapter called for the charges to be dismissed.
Last month, a judge dismissed the vandalism charge against two other defendants, Alex Darocy and Bradley Allen, but held them to charges of felony conspiracy and misdemeanor trespassing. The two, whose attorneys say they were at 75 River St. acting as journalists, are scheduled for trial next month. A preliminary hearing for the other five defendants is still pending.
Follow Sentinel reporter Jessica M. Pasko on Twitter @jmpasko96