By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Brian Thomas Cruz, a transient man who went on a one-day crime spree in Pacific Palisades in 2014, was sentenced to 141 years to life in state prison on Monday, July 6.
“Cruz was convicted in a non-jury trial of four felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon—an automobile—three counts of carjacking, two counts each of first-degree burglary with a person present, second-degree robbery, criminal threats and reckless driving causing specified injury and one count each of kidnapping and false imprisonment by violence,” according to the City News Service report.
The now 50-year-old previously pleaded not guilty to the charges that stemmed from the Palisades crime spree, which ended in Malibu.
The string of crimes unfolded on the morning of August 11, 2014. Cruz began by breaking into an elderly woman’s apartment on the 100 block of Marquez Place and forcing her at knifepoint to drive him to the San Fernando Valley.
The 85-year-old woman escaped after intentionally crashing her car into a construction vehicle a short distance away, near Palisades Charter High School, where Cruz seized the opportunity to carjack another vehicle, a teacher’s vehicle, and crashed it nearby.
Cruz then intruded another home and coerced a third woman into surrendering her car keys. He drove north on Pacific Coast Highway toward Malibu, where he collided with several vehicles and was eventually taken into custody roughly 45 minutes after the crime spree had begun.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Eugene Hanrahan and investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department, West LA Division.
The case was previously setback due to psychological evaluations; Judge Mark Windham deemed it necessary to evaluate Cruz, due to his “obvious” displays of paranoia and distorted thought process. Criminal proceedings were halted until he was further evaluated.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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