An ex-convict who broke into a 76-year-old Perris man's home and repeatedly shocked him with a Taser to keep him under control while his associate ransacked the residence was sentenced today to nine years, four months in prison.
Abah Mahammed Ahmed, 35, pleaded guilty last month to robbery, burglary and theft of funds from an elder, as well as sentence-enhancing allegations of committing a crime while on bail and using a deadly weapon during a felony.
The plea was made directly to Riverside County Superior Court Judge Christian Thierbach, without negotiation between the prosecution and defense. Thierbach dismissed one enhancement in exchange for the parolee's plea.
According to the District Attorney's Office, the home invasion robbery happened the afternoon of Sept. 22, 2012, at a house in the 1000 block of Ramona Drive. Ahmed and another convicted felon -- 31-year-old Cynthia Romero Smith -- spotted the victim working in his front yard garden and decided to sneak into his home via a rear sliding glass door that was left unlocked.
"The victim in this case didn't realize there was anyone in his house until he walked into his bedroom and found these two defendants going through his belongings," Deputy District Attorney Janet Hasegawa told City News Service.
The homeowner -- whose identity was not disclosed -- was unable to call out or scream for help because of cancer-related throat surgery. He used a tracheal microphone to speak and didn't have it on him when he discovered the intruders, Hasegawa said.
"This very sweet, hardworking, earnest man was subjected to almost continuous Tasering by Mr. Ahmed," the prosecutor said. "The defendant also sat on him, while Ms. Smith went through the house to steal."
In the space of about 15 minutes, the defendants took the victim's wallet, his dead wife's jewelry, a coin collection and other sentimental possessions, according to Hasegawa.
She said they then fled in the victim's SUV, which they abandoned a short time later.
Both defendants were identified and arrested within a week in Perris. Hasegawa credited an alert jogger and several of the victim's neighbors with helping solve the case.
"His community really stepped up for him," she said. "So many times, people just look away. But it takes a community to watch out for each other."
Smith -- who has a prior conviction for a 2010 robbery -- pleaded guilty last October to robbery in connection with the Perris home invasion and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
She will not be eligible for parole until she serves at least eight years.
Ahmed has two prior convictions for burglary. At the time he committed the home invasion, he was out on bail after having been arrested a month earlier for being a convicted felon in possession of pepper spray and a knife.
He pleaded guilty to those charges, as well, and received 16 months behind bars, which was folded into his sentence today.
Hasegawa said the victim has some lingering pain from the assault, but a lot of the trauma was psychological.
"You can imagine what this does to someone who is fiercely independent," she told CNS. "That sense of security is gone. They second- guess themselves." --City News Service