Four San Bernardino men were sentenced to prison on Friday for their participation in the armed robbery of food writer Jeanne Jones and her husband at their La Jolla home last year.
Thomas Walter Clark, 42, Aaron Jacob Espinosa, 24, Hector Guerra, 31, and Miguel Ocegueda, 24, pleaded guilty on July 8 to robbery, assault and false imprisonment for their participation in the armed robbery. The prison terms range from 14 years and four months to 45 years.
Deputy District Attorney C.J. Mody said Clark, Espinosa and Guerra entered Jones’ home on La Jolla Scenic Drive at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2010, with two semiautomatic handguns.
Ocegueda did not enter the home, according to the prosecutor.
A housekeeper opened the door to Guerra holding a single rose and announcing he had a flower delivery for Jones, the prosecutor said. Mody said the defendant repeatedly punched the woman in the face, knocked her to the ground and bound her with zip ties.
The three then reportedly ran upstairs to where Jones, her husband and a nurse were located. Jones, who was recovering from knee surgery, was forced at gunpoint to open a safe while her husband and nurse were restrained, the prosecutor said. The assailants grabbed jewelry including Rolex watches, and cash and fled the home. The estimated loss was about $50,000, according to Mody.
By chance, a delivery driver arrived at the house as the robbery was taking place and called 911. He told the 911 operator that he saw armed men run from the residence and drive away, according to police reports. A police helicopter spotted a vehicle matching the description given by the delivery driver, and ground units stopped the vehicle on state Route 52 near Regents Road.
Police detained all four people inside the vehicle and found items that belong to Jones as well as a handgun, ski masks and gloves.
The nurses’ husband told the defendants that his wife has long-lasting trauma and nightmare because of their actions.
“The effects of your violent acts have terribly affected our family,” he said.
Most of the jewelry and cash was recovered.
City News Service contributed to this report.