Man admits to attacking mom with metal pipes

SAN DIEGO — A mentally ill man who attacked his 69-year-old mother with a pair of metal pipes at their Mira Mesa home last year pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted murder and residential burglary charges.

Theodore Charles Guenther — a diagnosed schizophrenic — will be sentenced to 19 years and four months in state prison at a hearing Sept. 5.

The 37-year-old defendant faced a potential life sentence if convicted of premeditated attempted murder, said Deputy District Attorney Scott Pirrello and Deputy Public Defender Sarah Shekhter.

As a result of the plea bargain, charges of aggravated mayhem and elder abuse were dismissed.

Pirrello said Guenther was on probation for vandalism for threatening his mother Cynthia in 2016.

On July 19, 2017, the defendant squirted his mother with a garden hose at their home in the 8900 block of Capcano Road. She told him to stop or she was going to call the police, Pirrello said.

Something the victim said to the defendant set him off, and he starting beating her in the head with one of the foot-and-a-half-long pipes, the prosecutor said. The victim was hit more than 30 times in the face and head, the prosecutor said.

The victim tried to get in the house and call police, but the defendant took the phone from her and tried to break her neck when they went to the ground, Pirrello said.

The defendant left when the victim played dead, according to the prosecutor.

Patrol officers found the defendant and his makeshift weapons at a nearby park and arrested him.