Man faces 20 years in prison after admitting to kidnapping, beating La Jolla resident

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man who tied up and beat a La Jolla resident at the victim’s home in a financially-motivated attack pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of kidnapping, burglary and assault with a deadly weapon.

Robert Whitaker, 59, is slated to be sentenced to nearly 20 years in state prison for the June 12, 2019, assault, which prosecutors said was committed in an attempt to get money from the victim. Other charges, including a torture count, were dismissed as a result of his plea.

According to testimony from Whitaker’s 2019 preliminary hearing, the defendant was living with a woman who was the victim’s next-door neighbor on Mar Avenue.

Deputy District Attorney Kristie Nikoletich said the defendant — who worked as a construction contractor — was in dire financial straits and was invited into the victim’s home under the guise of inspecting the residence.

The prosecutor said Whitaker took the victim into the home’s garage, bound his wrists with a ziptie and struck him about the head and face around 30 times with his fists and a wooden club while demanding money and/or valuable items, though no money was ever obtained.

Whitaker was arrested later that day.

Sentencing is set for Aug. 23, when the defendant is expected to receive a 19-year, eight month term.

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