A probationer who stabbed and stole from a transient in Lake Elsinore pleaded guilty Monday to assault resulting in great bodily injury and was immediately sentenced to six months in jail and three years probation.

Richard Rodriguez, 28, pleaded guilty to the felony count just as trial proceedings were getting underway at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge John Monterosso certified the plea and imposed the stipulated sentence.

In addition to jail time and probation, Monterosso ordered Rodriguez to pay victim restitution in an amount that will be determined by the Department of Probation.

The defendant was arrested following a sheriff’s investigation into the Sept. 18 attack in the 18000 block of Collier Avenue.

The victim, identified in court documents only as John Doe, was sleeping in the area of Collier and Riverside Drive about 5 a.m. when the defendant grabbed some of the clothing that the homeless man had in his possession, according to sheriff’s Sgt. James Woodland. When the victim awoke, Rodriguez stabbed him in the arm and fled, Woodland said.

He said deputies were called to the scene by witnesses, at which point the victim identified the defendant as the assailant. The following afternoon, deputies spotted Rodriguez walking in the area of Collier and Nichols Road, where he was taken into custody without a struggle.

According to court records, Rodriguez has prior misdemeanor convictions for possession of a controlled substance and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

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