Sunday, November 16, 2014

BB gun robber who shot a woman in the face gets 374 years in prison

Window glass damaged by BB-gun pellet

Jose Lewis Avila, 33, shot a woman in the face with a BB gun as she held her child during one of a series of home invasion robberies in San Gabriel Valley, California. On November 13, 2014, Avila was sentenced to 374 years to life in prison. Avila’s crime spree included three robberies, one of which involved two victims, in Alhambra. Three of the attacks committed by Avila occurred in San Gabriel, one took place in Arcadia and another one transpired in Monterey Park. Avila’s hefty sentence is due in part to him being a third strike offender. He had gone to jail in 2005 for a previous string of robberies. Avila was paroled in 2011, only to embark on another crime spree.

In July 2014, Avila was convicted for nine counts of second-degree robbery, one count of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of dissuading a witness from reporting a crime and one count of child abuse. Jurors also found true special allegations that Avila used a BB gun, deadly and dangerous weapon, and that he inflicted great bodily injury.

He often targeted lone female drivers and followed them home. Avila accosted the women at their homes, demanding money and other items, according to the office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney. During these robberies/home invasions, Avila covered his face with a bandanna or mask. He also brandished a BB gun, shooting one of his victims in the face, as she held a child. This led to charges of assault with a deadly weapon and child abuse. Avila also threatened a witness not to contact the police, leading to the charge of dissuading a witness. He would shoot robbery victims with his BB gun, even if they cooperated.