“I thought it was a joke,” Esmeirat testified in Arabic. “I lifted my hands up. He said, `Don’t move or I will shoot you.”‘ The robbers took about $200 from the cash register, said Esmeirat. “Before they left, he kicked me in the leg and said I need to get more money,” he said. Two of the robberies were more violent – Wu and Molina were shot and killed in separate holdups, investigators said. Ze Zhang of San Gabriel, a friend of Wu, testified he was with the victim when they were robbed behind the Huang Building in San Gabriel on Aug. 4, 2004. Two men wearing hoods and sunglasses approached Wu and Zhang and demanded money. “My friend ran away,” Zhang said in Mandarin Chinese through a translator. “One of the men chased my friend, caught up with him, and pushed him to the floor.” At that moment, Zhang said, he was handing his wallet to the other assailant. Then he heard a gunshot and saw Wu fall to the ground. He said the robbers took Wu’s wallet before fleeing. “\ was lying on the floor,” Zhang said. “He told me he had been shot. His body was curled up, and he said he was in extreme pain.” Wu was taken to a nearby hospital where he died. email@example.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Mitzie Ann Oso, 28, is charged with being an accessory to a felony. At a preliminary hearing for the five, which continues today in Norwalk Court, five small-business owners and two of their customers each testified that they were present during one of seven robberies that occurred between August and December 2004. In each robbery, witnesses testified, two people dressed in dark clothing and sunglasses walked into the businesses at night and demanded money at gunpoint from customers and employees. “He told me, `Open the \ drawer, I want the money,”‘ said Fariz Zeidan, owner of Mitchell’s Liquor Store in Alhambra, which was robbed on Dec. 3, 2004. “He pointed the gun at me. I opened the cash register and gave him the money, about $300.” Jamal Esmeirat, owner of Oceans Liquor in South Pasadena, testified that he was robbed at gunpoint Nov. 20, 2004. He said he felt the muzzle of a gun at the back of his head during the holdup. NORWALK – Several owners of small mom-and-pop-type stores said they were ordered at gunpoint to hand over cash, according to testimony Monday during a preliminary hearing for five people charged in the slayings of two men during the string of robberies two years ago. The crime spree targeted stores and businesses in Whittier and the San Gabriel Valley. In one of the holdups, Subway sandwich clerk Joseph Molina, 22, of Whittier, a Pasadena City College student, was shot in the head and killed. Leonardo Cisneros, 22, Bernadette Corvera, 25, and Sara Lopez, 24, are charged with multiple robberies and also in the Dec. 10, 2004, death of Molina. They could face the death penalty, if convicted. Jose Resendez, 29, is charged with multiple robberies and with murder in the Aug. 4, 2004, killing of businessman Dianqui Wu of Rowland Heights. Resendez also could face the death penalty if convicted.