MURRIETA (CNS) – A 29-year-old man who abducted a Lake Elsinore motorist at gunpoint and forced the victim to drive him more than 25 miles before letting him go was sentenced Monday to three years in state prison.
Jerry Frias Tolentino of Menifee pleaded guilty in March to carjacking under a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. In exchange for the admission, prosecutors dropped two related counts, as well as a sentence-enhancing gun use allegation against him.
During a hearing at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, Superior Court Judge John Monterosso certified the terms of the plea deal and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense.
According to the sheriff’s department, the defendant confronted the victim, whose identity was not disclosed, in the area of Railroad Canyon Road and Summerhill Drive shortly before 8 a.m. on April 21, 2022.
Sgt. Jeff Reese said Tolentino flashed a handgun and ordered the man to head north, though the specific route was not provided.
Reese said that the victim followed Tolentino’s commands, driving him to Corona, where the defendant got out of the car and left on foot, heading in an unknown direction.
The motorist, who was not injured, contacted sheriff’s deputies, providing details they used to initiate a search and alert surrounding law enforcement agencies, culminating in the defendant being located and taken into custody without incident on North Lemon Street in the city of Orange the following day, according to the sergeant.
Tolentino had no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.
Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.