A 26-year-old San Bernardino man pleaded guilty and was immediately sentenced to four years in prison Tuesday for a violent purse snatching in which he attacked a family in Laguna Beach before leading police on a chase.
James Michael Kelley pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and leading police on a chase, one count each of attempted kidnapping and false imprisonment, all felonies, and a misdemeanor count of child annoyance, according to court records.
Kelley knocked a woman down and took her purse about 10 p.m. July 29 in the 600 block of South Coast Highway, according to Laguna Beach police Sgt. Jim Cota. The woman’s teenage son tried to stop Kelley, grabbing him by his legs, prompting the defendant to slam a large metal flashlight over his head, Cota said.
When Kelley got away he ran away with the woman’s husband in tow, Cota said. When the husband caught up, Kelley struck him with the flashlight, too, Cota said.
Kelley hopped into a car and reversed it toward the husband and a witness, narrowly hitting them, Cota said. A police officer nearby saw Kelley driving away, leading to the chase, which ended in Newport Beach where officers stopped it with a spike strip, Cota said.
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