SAN DIEGO — One of two people who broke into a Lake Murray home and beat an 81-year-old man over the head with a crow bar pleaded guilty Monday to robbery, false imprisonment, elder abuse and other charges.
Joshua Jett, who will be sentenced June 5 by Superior Court Judge Kenneth So, also pleaded guilty to burglary, making criminal threats and trying to dissuade a witness from filing a police report. The 23-year-old defendant faces a maximum 16 years and eight months in prison at sentencing.
Adam Donaldson, who was 17 when he was charged as an adult in the Nov. 28 attack on Thomas Hoover, is due back in court May 29 for a readiness conference.
Hoover testified during a preliminary hearing in January that he was watching television around 3 p.m. when Donaldson came to the door of his home in the 8400 block of Harwell Drive, asking if he had any work for the teen.
The victim — who lived alone — said he told Donaldson no and shut the door.
Within five to 10 seconds, Hoover said he was hit with a crow bar at least three times and fell to the floor. Hoover said Jett demanded money and threatened to kill him if he didn’t hand over the cash.
The victim said the robbers took a watch and two rings off his body, along with other valuables. Hoover said the entire ordeal last about five to 10 minutes.
San Diego police Officer Gregory Bisesto testified that he responded to the scene after an anonymous caller said two males were trying to break into Hoover’s home with a crow bar.
Bisesto said he saw two males running from the victim’s driveway as he pulled up in his patrol car — Jett with a full backpack and Donaldson with two suitcases and a crow bar.
The officer said he pulled alongside the suspects and ordered them to stop or he’d release his service dog, but they continued running. Bisesto testified that once he ordered his police dog to go after the suspects, they dropped to the ground.
As he tried to handcuff Donaldson, the defendant yelled to Jett, “See, why did you make me do this?” the officer testified.
Bisesto said Jett was angry and said, “How did you find us? Did someone rat us out?”
Once handcuffed, Jett told the officer that there was a man bleeding from the head inside the burglarized house and that police should check on him, Bisesto said.
Officer Eric Portnoy, who put Jett in his patrol car, testified that Jett told him, “The guy inside is really hurt. You should go inside and check on him.”
Portnoy testified that he searched Jett’s pockets and found keys, coins and prescription medications taken from Hoover’s home. Portnoy said he also recovered more than $600 in cash, a blood-stained gold watch and a cell phone from Jett.