Man sentenced for beating jewelry store owner with hatchet

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Jewelry-Store-Attack

EL CAJON, Calif. — A man who beat the 75-year-old owner of an El Cajon jewelry store with the blunt end of a hatchet during a robbery was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in state prison.

Travis Scott Kelley, 25, pleaded guilty last month to attempted murder, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury.

Co-defendant Ali Armeen Toombs, 21, who drove the getaway car, pleaded guilty to robbery and burglary and was sentenced to a year in jail with credit for time served.

El Cajon police said Kelley attempted to buy merchandise from Hamlin Jewelers at 2234 Fletcher Parkway just before 3:30 p.m. Jan. 22, but the credit card he used was denied, and he became enraged.

Kelley pulled out a hatchet and beat the shopkeeper with the hammer end of the hatchet, then stole a small-caliber handgun the business owner had pulled in self-defense, according to El Cajon police Lt. Walt Miller.

Kelley then ran from the store and jumped into a waiting Toyota 4Runner driven by Toombs.

Arriving police found the injured shopkeeper. His handgun appeared to have been the only item stolen during the crime, Miller said.

El Cajon police Lt. Frank La Haye said the victim’s injuries were more severe than originally thought and he was hospitalized with stable vital signs.

On Jan. 23, detectives stopped the 4Runner based on witness statements and a partial license plate number and arrested Toombs, La Haye said.

Detectives identified Kelley as the suspected hatchet-wielding assailant and with the help of the San Diego Regional Fugitive Task Force, he was arrested on Jan. 24 in Ocean Beach.