Four men who robbed a La Jolla residence last fall pleaded guilty Friday morning at the San Diego County Courthouse.
Last September, Thomas Walter Clark, Aaron Jacob Espinoza, Hector Guerra and Miguel Ocegueda of San Bernardino were accused of invading the home of well-known cookbook author Jeanne Jones.
What turned out to be a brutal and violent robbery was planned far in advance, according to prosecutors.
"The individual handed the victim [the property caretaker] a flower with his left hand and hit her in the face with his right hand," Deputy District Attorney C.J. Mody said.
Once the 50-year-old victim fell down, the home-invaders hog-tied her. She was badly injured in the attack. Immediately following, the burglars bolted upstairs to the second floor where Jones was resting and put a gun to her head. They ordered her to open her safe and stole $50,000 in jewelry.
The UPS employee who happened to be at the home dialed 911 from his truck, and followed the suspects on state Route 52 until police could make an arrest and recover the stolen jewelry.
The suspect entered not-guilty pleas in November and they were held on $1 million bail.
Clark, Espinoza, Guerra and Ocegueda are now awaiting sentencing. As part of their plea deals, their sentences will rane from 14 to 45 years in prison.