Robert Bush 11:18 p.m., May 25
Oceanside man admits kidnap
Was on probation for four other cases, at the time of the new crime
Gregory Leon Spatcher, 31, made a plea deal in which he admitted felony kidnap, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse, yesterday.
When the judge asked the defendant if he did seize and confine and kidnap another person, Spatcher replied, “Yes, I did. Um, guilty.”
Spatcher expects to get 3 years in prison, when he is sentenced at his next court appearance, February 22.
The defendant was out on probation when he held a man at knifepoint and demanded ransom, from that man's employer, according to testimony at previous court hearings.
According to evidence at a preliminary hearing last summer, a ransom of one-thousand-dollars cash plus a car was paid. The ransom was demanded of a man who owned an Oceanside car-repair place, and that man said he arranged the pay-off. The hostage was released the same day, August 20, 2012.
In the plea deal, Spatcher admitted “simple kidnap,” not extortion, according to Judge Aaron Katz. The judge told the defendant that he could get life in prison for the more serious charge of kidnap-for-financial-gain. Other felony charges were dropped in the plea deal. The admitted “simple kidnap” is a “strike” offense.
The expected, three-year-prison-term will run concurrent with time due for violation of Spatcher’s four other probation cases, according to Judge Katz.
Prosecutor Geoff Allard signed off on the deal yesterday afternoon, January 23, 2013. The defendant is expected to be formally sentenced to prison next month, on February 22.
Gregrory Leon Spatcher, 31. Photo Weatherston.