A career criminal admitted Tuesday he had convictions for auto theft and carjacking before he kidnapped and robbed former Fresno County official Tim Casagrande at gunpoint last October.
Renard Brooks Jr., 27, of Fresno, made his admission in Fresno County Superior Court to satisfy a legal requirement before he is sentenced for his crimes against Casagrande, 58 and the county's former environmental health director.
After the admission, Judge Wayne Ellison scheduled a April 29 sentencing date for Brooks.
A jury last week deliberated about two hours before finding Brooks guilty of six felony counts, including kidnapping to commit robbery, kidnapping to commit a carjacking, burglary and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Brooks now faces life in prison.
On the morning of Oct. 7, Casagrande had just said goodbye to his wife, who was headed to work, when an armed intruder entered his northeast Fresno home near Clovis West High School.
After tying up Casagrande and blindfolding him, Brooks stole jewelry, guns and money from Casagrande, prosecutor Monica Diaz said during the trial. Brooks then took Casagrande on a terrifying ride around Fresno before setting him free.
A surveillance photograph showed Brooks taking a city bus to a stop near Casagrande's home on the morning of the crime, Diaz said. And when Brooks was arrested on Oct. 14, he was wearing Casagrande's wedding ring on a gold chain necklace, Diaz said. Brooks also left his fingerprints on a bus ticket that was found in Casagrande's car, she said.
Casagrande's wife, Alison, who had noticed a stranger walking in the neighborhood as she drove to work on Oct. 7, later identified Brooks from a police photo lineup. Casagrande also identified Brooks from the lineup.
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