Two Men in 2020 Armed Robbery Plead Guilty to Felony Charges

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

INDIO (CNS) – Two men who were involved in an armed robbery that included use of multiple AK-47s inside the gated community that houses the Arnold Palmer PGA West Golf Course in La Quinta pleaded guilty Friday to multiple felony charges and were immediately sentenced Friday.

Fernando Leal Jr., 42, of Indio and Desert Hot Springs resident Luis Jose Leyva Jr., 34, pleaded guilty Friday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio to four felony counts of robbery and one of being a convicted felon and narcotic addict in possession of a firearm, according to court records. They also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of assault with a deadly weapon and admitted to sentence-enhancing firearm allegations.

Leyva was immediately sentenced to eight years in state prison, according to court records. Leal was immediately granted formal probation for three years.

Noe Millan Mora, 31, of Desert Hot Springs was also at the Larson Justice Center Friday for a preliminary hearing, but court records were not immediately available for him.

Garrett Basich, 33, of Desert Hot Springs pleaded guilty Aug. 26, 2022, to one felony count of robbery and was immediately sentenced to seven years in state prison.

The charges stem from an armed robbery on Dec. 20, 2020, in the 79000 block of Olympia Fields, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The robbers bashed the victims’ heads with guns, rendering the two men unconscious, before stealing their possessions and fleeing the scene.

According to prosecutors, two unidentified men went to a home at the PGA West community shortly after midnight when they were attacked by multiple men who entered the room with firearms and hit them in the head until they passed out. They woke up to an empty home.

Mora said during a Miranda interview that Leyva was the one handling the gun that was discharged and struck one of the victims in the face causing him to fall unconscious, according to prosecutors. Mora also said that he threw an unknown object at one of the victim’s head and some money was taken while the two victims were unconscious.

During a Miranda interview, Leal said that he was also in the residence at the time, but didn’t remember anything because he was high, according to prosecutors. It was unknown what role Basich played in the robbery.

All suspects excluding Mora have prior documented felony convictions in Riverside County.

Leyva has prior felony convictions including burglary and vehicle theft, Basich has three felony convictions for grand theft and Leal has a felony conviction for kidnapping.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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