Surviving burglary suspect makes plea deal

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A woman whose boyfriend was fatally shot when they intruded on a rural Yolo County property admitted last week to second-degree burglary charges stemming from the July 2021 incident. 

America Inez Sanchez and Osbaldo Ponce twice went to the County Road 45 property “with the intent to commit theft,” Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin said at the plea hearing Wednesday in Yolo Superior Court.

During the second theft attempt, the armed homeowner fired at the pair in self-defense. Ponce, 39, died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds, while Sanchez was hospitalized for her shooting injuries. 

Sanchez, charged with burglary following her recovery, appeared in court Wednesday to plead no contest to the two counts. The plea agreement calls for a two-year, eight-month “split sentence,” served with a combination of jail time and supervised release. 

But when Judge Tom Dyer asked Sanchez to confirm her no-contest plea, she responded with a lengthy silence.

Her attorney, Rod Beede, tried to nudge her along, telling Sanchez “you’re going to be out of here before you know it and back home.” 

“Yeah, but someone died that day,” a tearful Sanchez replied.

“It was a horrible event, there’s no question about it, but you didn’t. So let’s go on with life, OK?” Beede said. 

With that, Sanchez entered her no-contest pleas. She returns to court July 27 for sentencing. 

The week before will mark the one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting on the Guinda-area property, which resulted in multiple 911 calls to the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office. 

“One of the callers was the homeowner, who advised the dispatcher he had shot an intruder on the property,” sheriff’s officials said in a news release at the time. “When deputies arrived, they located an unresponsive male and a responsive female adult that had both sustained gunshot wounds.”

The homeowner, identified only as an elderly male, also was on scene and was cooperative with investigators.

“It was learned that the homeowner had returned to his residence earlier that afternoon and discovered a recent burglary had occurred at his residence. Tools and a firearm were stolen during that burglary,” which apparently occurred several days earlier, sheriff’s officials said.

Several hours after his discovery, the homeowner spotted headlights from a vehicle on his property, after which the two intruders confronted him and were shot, officials said.

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