Man who kidnapped baseball coach, teenage player to serve life without parole

SAN DIEGO - An ex-con who kidnapped a coach and a 16-year-old baseball player at gunpoint and made the coach drive him to Ramona, where he carjacked a 79-year-old woman, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Ira Stringer, 48, was convicted last month of 13 felony charges, including kidnapping during a carjacking and kidnapping for extortion.

The three-striker has a 1995 conviction for a home-invasion robbery in Spring Valley in which he held residents overnight and threatened to kill them, said Deputy District Attorney James Koerber.

Stringer was serving a 20-year sentence for robbery in Orange County when he was charged last year with abducting 27-year-old Dylan Graham and 16- year-old Jack Spencer from Hickman Field in Kearny Mesa, where baseball tryouts were underway on Dec. 23, 2015.

Koerber said Stringer approached the victims holding a loaded .357 Magnum and demanded that he be driven to Ramona. Stringer told Graham that he had been in a gunfight and needed to get "far away," according to the prosecutor.

Once near Ramona, Graham jumped into the back seat and tried to wrest the gun away from Stringer, who fired off two rounds and the car veered off the road and crashed.

Outside the car, the defendant lunged at Graham and the coach picked up the gun and fired several shots to get Stringer away from him, Koerber said.

Stringer acted like he was hurt and flagged down and carjacked a 79- year-old woman and stole her car, Koerber said.

Three days later, Stringer robbed a convenience store in San Diego and a few hours after that, robbed a store in Orange County with a shotgun.