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December 11, 2023

Gidding gets 23 years for home invasion

The man found guilty in a 2009 home invasion near San Juan Bautista has received a sentence of 23 years in prison.

A jury in January found 29-year-old Robert Gidding, a suspect in the May 2009 home invasion in the San Juan Bautista area, guilty of related charges.

Gidding, of Gilroy, was found guilty on felony counts of robbery, burglary and assault with a firearm, along with three counts of false imprisonment by violence or menace. The jury also found him guilty of several related special allegations, while Gidding already has served a prison term on convictions for arson, and theft or unauthorized use of a vehicle. He had one prior strike on his record before the latest convictions, District Attorney Candice Hooper said.

The jury trial proceedings started Jan. 9 and lasted six days. Several consecutive terms handed down at Monday’s sentence hearing added up to 23 years in prison, Hooper said.

Prosecutors alleged that Gidding and Joaquin McKenzie, both 26 at the time, proceeded to bind and rob two residents at a home off Highway 156 near San Juan Bautista.

According to the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office, deputies arrested McKenzie a few miles away on the 2200 block of San Juan-Hollister Road but were forced to open fire, about 15 rounds, into a vehicle driving toward two deputies. The driver, Gidding, escaped for about five hours before a Hollister police officer arrested him while responding to a suspicious person call.

McKenzie previously pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree burglary and conspiracy to intimidate a witness. He received a five-year probation term in addition to getting time served for his 320 days in jail.

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