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For Immediate Release

Man sentenced to maximum sentence of 24 years, 8 months in state prison for robbery, high speed pursuit causing serious injury, & driving under the influence of methamphetamine

SANTA ROSA, CA | August 14, 2023

Jose Angel Mendez Torres, 36 years old of Watsonville, was sentenced on Friday of last week by the Honorable Judge Mark Urioste to serve the maximum sentence allowed of 24 years, and 8 months in state prison after a jury returned guilty verdicts on June 9, 2023 for multiple charges, including robbery, commercial burglary, driving under the influence of a drug causing great bodily injury, fleeing a peace officer, and possession of tear gas by a convicted felon. The jury also found true several factors in aggravation. In addition, the court found true that the defendant had previously been convicted of a prior “strike” offense, as well as two additional factors in aggravation based on his prior criminal history.

District Attorney Rodriguez stated, “We thank the jury for their hard work in this case, and we believe the aggravated prison sentence was the only just outcome. This defendant has lived his entire adult life committing serious criminal offenses, and simply put, the community is safer with him incarcerated.”

On August 15, 2022, the defendant entered a 76-gas station and violently ripped the cash register from the store cashier. Video surveillance of the incident was used by law enforcement to locate and identify the defendant, who was found to be incarcerated in the Sonoma County jail after he was arrested the day after the robbery on separate charges.

On August 16, 2022, the defendant was stopped for vehicle code violations in Rohnert Park. He gave law enforcement a false name, and when questioned further about his identity he fled. A brief pursuit occurred, which resulted in a head on collision with a motorist in the opposite lane of travel, who was hospitalized for his injuries. This collision had a significant impact on the victim’s life, causing him a great deal of pain, an inability to go to work or participate in any of his normal activities. The defendant fled from the collision and was located hiding in a nearby creek. Upon examination, the defendant was found to be under the influence of methamphetamine. Following the collision, the defendant told officers that he lives an “ugly life,” and that he “likes it.”    When booked into the jail, Mr. Mendez Torres possessed several thousand dollars in an amount consistent with that stolen from the 76 gas station robbery the day before. 

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Jason Rifkind, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Alexis Bartley. Officer Lupita Figeuroa of the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety, Brian Wood of the California Highway Patrol, and Zachary Geddes of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department headed the investigation


Contact Information

Media Spokesperson, Assistant District Attorney Brian Staebell
Media Coordinator, Carrie Trevena
(707) 565-3098