A 21-year-old gang member faces eight years behind bars for carjacking a disabled man last fall, the District Attorney's Office reported Friday.
Saul Aldana pleaded no contest Friday morning to carjacking and active participation in a criminal street gang. He has served 85 percent of his sentence and he also received a strike under California's "Three Strikes" law, according to the D.A.'s Office.
"This crime was just despicable," Assistant District Attorney Charlie Baum, who prosecuted the case, said. "It really shows what gang members are: criminals that just prey on the weak. I hope this case helps all the kids who look up to gang members, for whatever reason, see them for what they truly are."
Aldana carjacked a disabled 41-year-old Watsonville man near East Lake Avenue on Oct. 7, 2011. The driver, who is permanently disabled from being run over by a construction truck five years earlier, had pulled off the road to make a U-turn when Aldana, who had been in the area drinking with fellow gang members, approached his truck and ordered the man out of his vehicle, according to the D.A.'s Office.
When the man refused, Aldana pulled the man out of his truck, and demanded his wallet and keys. The man again refused, and Aldana ripped off the man's pans to get the items and threw the man in a mud puddle, according to the D.A.'s Office.
Aldana got into the truck and fought with the man's female friend, punching her in the face and pushing her out of the vehicle as well, the D.A.'s Office reported.
Watsonville police responded, found the stolen truck and caught Aldana as he tried to flee—Aldana fell and hurt his face, the D.A.'s Office reported. He was arrested.
Aldana will be sentenced on May 3.