Defendant in robbery of 101-year-old changes plea, again

Deputy DA says it’s planned for all five original felony counts filed to be reinstated

For the third time, Robbie Hernandez changed his plea to charges he robbed a 101-year-old veteran on Memorial Day.

This time when Hernandez, 27, pulled back his guilty plea, Deputy District Attorney Amy Steelman said she would file an amended complaint reinstating all five original felony counts filed in the case instead of the plea bargain deal of a single count of robbing a senior citizen with use of a deadly weapon. And because of the victim’s age, she said the DA’s office was invoking the 60-day rule.

“We do have a very elderly victim and time is of the essence,” she told Judge James Wilson.

Hernandez was originally arraigned on July 15 and was supposed to plead guilty in a bargain reducing five felony counts to just the one. The other defendant Jordan Burkhart entered a guilty plea as agreed but Hernandez balked, saying he needed more time.

Hernandez was brought back a week later and agreed to accept the deal, but the issue came up again Tuesday because Wilson said the arraignment canvass done on the 22nd wasn’t adequate legally.

And Hernandez backed out of the deal saying he wanted to plead not guilty.

If convicted on the one count, he could receive up to 20 years in prison plus another 15 years for the deadly weapon enhancement. The other counts are equally serious.

Wilson set a status check for two weeks from Tuesday to see if Hernandez wants to go through with the trial.

In that event, he set trial to start Oct. 6 and Hernandez also would face charges of burglary with a firearm, home invasion with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit home invasion.

He and Burkhart were charged with breaking into the home of James Sorrentino in south Carson and stealing several items at gunpoint.

Burkhart has not yet been sentenced in the case.

Both men remain in jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.


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