Home invasion suspect takes plea
August 4, 2014
A 17-year-old Grass Valley boy took a plea agreement in court Thursday in a brutal home invasion robbery, in return for a stipulated sentence of five years in state prison and three years supervised probation.
Tyler Leal, 17, had been charged as an adult, and previously pleaded not guilty to first-degree robbery, first-degree residential burglary with a person present, criminal conspiracy and possession of stolen property.
Assistant District Attorney Anna Ferguson said Leal was one of three young men who knocked on a 73-year-old man's door in Grass Valley and asked him if they could make an out-of-town phone call. One of the other suspects struck the victim in the face and head and left him bound and bleeding on the floor while the trio ransacked and stole several items from the residence before fleeing in his truck.
In Nevada County Superior Court, Leal pleaded no contest to one count of second-degree robbery in exchange for the five-year sentence; he is set for sentencing Sept. 8.
"I think this plea is fair, as it holds Leal appropriately accountable for what he did as one of the active participants who entered the house, yet takes into account his youth and that he did not actually strike the victim," Ferguson said after the hearing. "It sends a strong message to the community that the DA's Office is fighting to preserve the safety of our citizens in their homes."
Three of the five suspects have already taken pleas, and the fifth — Elliott Roberts, 17 — is set for a preliminary hearing into the evidence against him on Oct. 2. Roberts was described by Ferguson as the primary aggressor, is being tried as an adult and has been charged with first-degree residential burglary, second-degree robbery and criminal conspiracy.
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Austin Michael Wallace, 17, has pleaded no contest to one count of possessing a controlled substance while armed with a firearm, and to one count of being an accessory after the fact, in return for a potential sentence of four years in prison. His sentencing was set for Sept. 8.
Billy Mecredy, 19, pleaded no contest to robbery in return for a five-year prison sentence and three years parole or post-release community supervision; he is set to be sentenced Aug. 4.
Devin Matthew Thomas, 18, pleaded no contest to one count of conspiracy to commit residential burglary and has been sentenced to one year in jail and five years supervised probation.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.