A 57-year-old Turlock man has been convicted on assault charges for shooting a man that had been talking to his girlfriend.
Jose Ernesto Coria entered a guilty plea on Wednesday to assault with a firearm and criminal threats. Coria had initially been charged with attempted murder for the shooting, according to the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.
Upon taking the plea, Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Rick Distaso immediately sentenced Coria to six years and eight months in state prison.
On April 20, 2013, Coria drove to a Turlock liquor store and while he was inside the store, the 36-year old victim began talking to Coria’s girlfriend who was waiting in the car. When Coria returned, an argument ensued. Before he drove away, Coria threatened to get a gun, come back and shoot the victim, according to the district attorney’s office.
Later that same day the victim was walking in a Turlock neighborhood when Coria returned in his car and fired one shot. The bullet struck the victim, causing a grazing wound to his head.
The encounter was reported to the Turlock Police Department and a short time later officers located Coria in his vehicle and took him into custody.
The district attorney’s office stated that Coria was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser charge because of his lack of significant prior criminal record and problems finding the victim to testify at jury trial.
Both crimes qualify as “strikes” under California’s “Three Strikes Law” which may be used to increase any potential sentence if Coria is convicted of a felony crime in the future once he is released from prison.