Tag Archive for: sentence

30 Year Sentence for Armed Robber

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced that a 22-year-old man was sentenced on Thursday to 30 years in prison for shooting an Oceanside AM/PM store clerk in the abdomen during a robbery and a separate shooting in Escondido. Hans Nanduca, who was on probation, pleaded guilty to assault with a semi-automatic firearm, admitted that he personally used a firearm, and admitted a prior strike when entering guilty pleas last month. In the Escondido case, Nanduca also pled guilty to assault with a semi-automatic firearm and attempted robbery while vicariously armed with a firearm.

The AM/PM store clerk fortunately survived his injuries, but the defendant— who was wearing a mask— was not apprehended immediately. Two weeks later, Nanduca was an accomplice in another robbery at a local business in Escondido where a gun was fired. The firearm, which turned out to be an untraceable ghost gun found on scene was eventually connected to Nanduca when the cartridge casings from the Oceanside and Escondido shootings were matched to the firearm. That link led to charges and the successful prosecution of the AM/PM shooting. At the time of the crimes, Nanduca was on probation for carjacking while armed with a knife and reckless driving.

This defendant’s violent crimes nearly took the lives of innocent people who were working hard at local businesses. The fact that defendant used a ghost gun made the investigation more difficult, but Oceanside and Escondido police detectives persisted in solving these crimes and our office brought a successful prosecution to end the defendant’s crime spree,” said DA Summer Stephan. “This lengthy and well-deserved sentence brings a measure of relief for the victims and businesses and we stand ready to support them with specialized services to process the trauma they suffered.”

This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Daniel Gochnour, who is assigned to the DA’s North County Branch in Vista.

Oceanside Man Sentenced to Prison for Animal Cruelty

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that a 31-year-old Oceanside man was sentenced to eight years in prison for torturing and killing at least 10 cats that he adopted from the San Diego Humane Society and Craigslist.

Joshua Boyer, who had previously been ordered to stand trial, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of animal cruelty on August 2, 2023.

“This was an egregious and extremely disturbing case of animal abuse,” DA Stephan said. “Our specialized Animal Cruelty Unit brings its expertise working with other agencies in order to investigate and prosecute these difficult cases and bring justice to those can’t speak for themselves. Let this case be a warning that those who abuse animals will be held accountable.”

To report animal abuse, call 619-299-7012.

To report domestic violence, call 1-800-DV-LINKS

On May 24, 2019, a GPS tracker on a cat who was reported missing led to the discovery of 10 deceased animals, and other partial remains, on Joshua Boyer’s family property. Humane Society Officers seized more than 125 pieces of evidence, including firearms and tools to inflict harm, that linked Boyer’s fingerprints and DNA to the feline victims.

This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Eva Kilamyan, who works in the DA’s Animal Cruelty Unit. Specialty units provide countywide, prosecutorial and investigative support along with dedicated expertise. This case included collaboration between multiple law enforcement agencies, including Escondido Police, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, and the FBI.

San Marcos Man Sentenced to Prison for Killing His Mother with a Hammer

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that a 32-year-old San Marcos man, who pleaded guilty in October to the first-degree murder of his 68-year-old mother, has been sentenced to 31 years-to-life in prison.

In June 2021, Sean McCarthy broke into the home of his parents through the back sliding door and attacked is mother in her bedroom after his father left for work. Using a hammer, he beat his mother to death and stuffed her body into the trunk of her car in the garage then fled and set himself on fire in his own car in Escondido.

“This is a horrific case of murder and elder abuse that affects an entire family and the community in which the parents lived,” DA Stephan said. “When a life is taken by a family member, nothing can make the family whole again, but today’s sentence provides a measure of justice for the defendant.”

McCarthy survived the car fire but was left permanently disabled. In addition to first-degree murder, he also pleaded guilty to residential burglary. Deputy District Attorney Ben Barlow prosecuted this case.

Gang Boss Sentenced to Life Without Parole for Ordering Murder Hit While in Prison

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that defendant and criminal street gang boss Jesus Faraj, 45, was sentenced to life without the possibility parole plus 60 years for ordering an execution-style murder of 32-year-old Jimmy Khieu in February 2019.

On Super Bowl Sunday, 2019, Khieu was shot through the head and left for dead in a drainage ditch in the Fox Canyon neighborhood of San Diego. There were no initial suspects and an investigation ensued, leading to the arrest, charging, and convictions of Faraj and three other defendants who worked at Faraj’s behest to track and kill the victim.

“This defendant is a ruthless criminal who casually ordered a murder from his prison cell,” DA Stephan said. “This case demonstrates that gang violence has a long and far reach of destruction leaving wounds in our community that last a lifetime. We will never stop fighting to make neighborhoods safe from the scourge of gang violence.”

Faraj was the leader of one biggest criminal street gangs in San Diego. While in prison for nearly 20 years on other charges, he rose through the ranks of the gang. At the time of the murder, Faraj used mobile phones from a prison cell to routinely orchestrate criminal activity in San Diego. This included obtaining and distributing large quantities of drugs and guns to put onto the streets of what he considered his neighborhood in order to obtain money, power, and control of the neighborhood. He was feared by many and had loyal gang members ready to do his bidding on the streets.

Apart from the murder, Faraj demonstrably ordered assaults and kidnappings of other victims that were captured on video and introduced in the trial. Ultimately, the jury found that Faraj planned the murder of Jimmy Khieu, which was perpetrated by another longstanding gang member who pled guilty to first degree murder before the trial. This case highlights the commitment to violence and terror that gang leaders show and how much of an impact they have in our community, even while incarcerated.

On November 29, co-defendant and shooter Peter Burgos was sentenced to 29 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder with a gun and admitted the murder was to benefit the gang. Co-defendant Steven Chavez was sentenced to 17 years in prison on July 14 after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter to benefit the gang. Co-defendant Kristin Zarate was sentenced to 12 years in prison in October 2022 after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter to benefit the gang.

This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Oscar Hagstrom with the support of his team.


Welk Resorts Will Pay Up To $ 5.5 Million To Settle Consumer Protection Lawsuit

Man Sentenced for Fatally Stabbing Teenager at Chula Vista House Party

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that a 19-year-old man who fatally stabbed a 17-year-old male at a house party has been sentenced to 12 years in state prison.

On August 10, 2023, James Mumper Jr. pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and admitted the allegation of personal use of a deadly weapon. Mumper additionally admitted three aggravating factors in the commission of this crime in connection with the stabbing that occurred   at the house party in Chula Vista. 

“We all grieve with the family for the loss of such a young life taken by senseless violence,” DA Stephan said. “We hope the family can find solace in the justice that was delivered through this prosecution.”

This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Alexis Lamprea and Garret Wong. 

Ringleader in Prolific Residential Burglary Series Sentenced to Prison

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that the ringleader in a multi-county residential burglary series involving nine defendants, who stole more than $1 million in cash and jewelry, was sentenced for his role in the elaborate crime.

George Boozer, 48, was sentenced to 56 years in state prison today after pleading guilty in June to 72 criminal counts, including residential burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime. Boozer led the group of eight other defendants to burglarize 43 homes over 18 months, effectively terrorizing communities in their self-titled “minivan crew” operation.

“These criminals not only stole cash and valuables from the victims, but they also stole their peace of mind, their safety and their security,” DA Stephan said. “I’m proud of the police investigation and of our prosecution team for their outstanding work in obtaining justice.”

Co-defendant Devon Taylor, 43, will be sentenced on October 10. He pleaded guilty in July to 82 criminal counts, including residential burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime and delaying/resisting arrest. Taylor was an active participant, entering the victims’ homes, pepper spraying victim’s pet dogs and stealing property. Taylor and Boozer worked together to commit a longstanding series of serious crimes.

Co-defendant Lauren Patrick, 36, pleaded guilty to 18 counts of residential burglary and 18 counts of conspiracy to commit burglary on August 11, and will also be sentenced on October 10. She was an active crew member, who researched and cased affluent neighborhoods to target. Co-Defendant Reshaun Rollins, 20, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of residential burglary and 10 counts of conspiracy to commit burglary. He was an active participant and will be sentenced November 9. The remaining defendants are scheduled for preliminary hearing or trial in the coming months.

A task force was established to investigate this multi jurisdiction crew, who committed residential burglaries in other counties across the state of California. The crew utilized sophisticated measures to conceal their appearance and vehicles used to commit the offenses.

This case is being prosecuted by Deputy DAs Lucy Yturralde and Malak Behrouznami.

Swim Instructor Sentenced to Prison for Molesting Underage Students

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that swim instructor Nicholas Piazza, 20, was sentenced to eight years in prison in connection with committing lewd acts against three children while he taught them to swim.

In July 2021, Piazza lewdly touched his 8-year-old student during a swim lesson. During prosecution for that case, as a condition of his release, Piazza was ordered not to work with any minors. Despite the court order, Piazza continued to give private swim lessons and molested two more children including a 5-year-old in June 2022 and a 7-year-old in September 2022.

“This defendant violated the trust placed in him by the parents of the victims in the worst way possible and caused harm and trauma to his victims with his lascivious crimes,” DA Stephan said. “Today a measure of justice was handed down for the victims, their families and the community affected by this disturbing crime.”

Piazza pleaded guilty to one felony count of a lewd or lascivious act against a minor under the age of 14 and two misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting a child. The incidents happened between the Summer of 2021 and the fall of 2022.

As a result of the plea, Piazza will be required to register as a sex offender.

Deputy DA Isaac Jackson prosecuted this case.

Man Sentenced in East County Attempted Murder Case

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that Pablo E. Ramirez, who was found guilty by a jury of three counts of attempted murder, was sentenced to 116 years-to-life in prison for attempting to kill his girlfriend and her two juvenile daughters in September 2021.

Two years ago, 52-year-old Ramirez entered the bedroom of his stepdaughters and began shooting. He had already shot their mother, Natalie Ortiz, and left her for dead, bleeding in their bedroom. He then shot her 15-year-old daughter and next aimed for her 11-year-old. His actions left the teenager a quadriplegic. The horrific crime left a lasting impression on the East County community.

“Pablo Ramirez destroyed a family and stole the hopes and dreams of a young woman who was just beginning her life,” DA Stephan said. “Today’s sentence provides a measure of justice and will hold this callous defendant accountable for his malicious acts.”

During the terrifying incident, the 11-year-old girl was able to escape to a neighbor’s house to call 911. Ramirez shot the 15-year-old girl in the elbow while she was still in bed. Then, while she was attempting to flee the home through a back door, Ramirez shot her in the back, leaving her paralyzed.

The survival of the victims was due to the immediate response of law enforcement and the exceptional trauma care provided to the victims. Law enforcement responded to the home within four minutes of the first 911 call, rushed into the home and immediately provided life saving measures to the mother and her 15-year-old daughter. The trauma surgeon testified that Ortiz was minutes from death. Without the heroic and expedient response by deputies and trauma surgeons she would have died from multiple gunshot wounds.

On July 27 after one day deliberation, a jury convicted Ramirez of all counts and allegations, including attempted murder, attempted manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Deputy DA Alexandra Lorens prosecuted this case.

Prison Sentence for Defendant Who Pushed Man into Freight Train

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that defendant Ryan Rukstelis, 27, was sentenced this week to 15 years-to-life in prison for a random attack that killed an elderly man at the Old Town Transit Station. Superior Court Judge Rachel Cano handed down the sentence on Thursday.

The victim, 68-year-old Martin Andara, was on his way to work at a Ralph’s supermarket in Pacific Beach at about 6:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day in 2022. After exiting the trolley and walking toward a connecting bus at the station, Rukstelis is seen on surveillance video walking ahead of Andara then slowing and stopping to wait until he is even with the victim. Rukstelis suddenly attacked Andara for no reason, punching him and pushing him directly into a freight train that was moving past them. Andara suffered severe head trauma causing almost immediate death.

“This random, chilling attack took the life of a man who was loved by his family, friends and colleagues,” said DA Stephan. “It is a tragic case that was solved by excellent police work and brought to justice by the Elder Abuse Unit in our office.” 

Police analyzed surveillance footage at various train stations throughout the county and determined that Rukstelis was at a trolley station in Mission Valley hours before the attack earlier that morning. Surveillance footage captured him attempting to remove a broken front panel of a vending machine. Fingerprints were lifted from the inside of the vending machine panel, matching those of Rukstelis. Investigators arrested Rukstelis three days after the attack.

Rukstelis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on June 30. Deputy District Attorney Scott Pirrello prosecuted this case.  

Burglary Ring Defendants Sentenced for Targeting San Diego Homes

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced that a 41-year-old serial burglar was sentenced on Tuesday to 45 years and eight months in prison for a residential burglary series involving four Los Angeles gang members, who stole more than $500,000 in cash and jewelry.

Gregory Shively, 41, was convicted in July after a one-month jury trial on 57 criminal counts, including residential burglary, residential burglary in association with a criminal street gang, and conspiracy to commit residential burglary in association with a criminal street gang. Shively was the ringleader of a group of three other defendants, who burglarized 38 homes from January 2017 to February 2018. The defendants repeatedly traveled to San Diego County, committed burglaries, and immediately returned to Los Angeles County with the stolen property.

The prosecution was the result of a two-year investigation by Torrance Police Department Detective Sean O’Rourke, an experienced gang investigator. This case involved the diligent review of thousands of pieces of evidence, including surveillance video, social media accounts, cellphone records, text messages, and jail calls.

“This residential burglary syndicate stole the peace and safety that people are entitled to in their own homes,” DA Stephan said. “Deputy District Attorney James Koerber of the DA’s Major Violators Unit along with Torrance Police Detective O’Rourke brough justice for the many victims and neighborhoods targeted by these thieves. The prosecution, convictions and lengthy sentences in this case should make it clear that anyone who thinks they can come to San Diego County to commit residential burglary will be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

The co-defendants were each convicted of residential burglaries in association with a criminal street gang. In October 2021 after a jury trial, Kenneth Ford, 22, was convicted of 13 criminal counts and later sentenced to 11 years in state prison. Aerick Splane, 29, was sentenced in 2022 to 14 years in state prison after pleading guilty to 25 criminal counts. Jalen Johnson, 24, was also sentenced last year to 16 years in state prison after pleading guilty to 33 criminal counts.

Defendant Shively was the organizer and ringleader of the burglary crew. Several dogs were pepper sprayed by the defendants during the burglary series in order to minimize interference with the crimes. The defendants used an open phone line during the crimes so the lookout could warn of the impending return of victims, witnesses, or the police. On 10 occasions, victims were inside the home at the time of the burglary. One victim was threatened at gunpoint when he returned and interrupted the burglary in progress.