A Fresno gang member has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for pulling a gun on a woman who tried to help him after he crashed into her garage two years ago.
George Maldonado, 27, said nothing when his sentence was announced late Wednesday afternoon in Fresno County Superior Court. His mother, Frances Coronado, however, said her son is a “good kid with a big heart” whose life has been ruined by drugs and alcohol.
Coronado told Judge Jane Cardoza she felt the punishment was harsh because her son didn’t hurt the victim. She pointed out that the victim had chased after Maldonado after he ran into her home.
George Maldonado is a dangerous and violent criminal and should be behind bars.
Prosecutor Andrew Janz
Cardoza, however, said the victim was vulnerable, since she was unaware that he would point a gun at her when she went out to help him.
Prosecutor Andrew Janz said the prison sentence was appropriate, noting Maldonado ties to the Calwa Varrio Loco street gang.
“George Maldonado is a dangerous and violent criminal and should be behind bars,” Janz said after the sentencing hearing.
A Superior Court jury last month deliberated less than an hour before finding Maldonado guilty of assault with a firearm, being a felon in possession of firearms and possession of cocaine and methamphetamine.
At the time of the incident Maldonado was on parole for a 2009 conviction of assault with a firearm, court records say.
During the trial, Janz told the jury that Maldonado drove his mother’s car into a garage near Clinton and Delno avenues in central Fresno shortly before 2 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2015. A woman who lived in the home heard the crash and went outside to see if the driver was all right. Instead of accepting the woman’s help, Janz said, Maldonado pointed a handgun at her chest and uttered; “I gotta go.”
Maldonado drove his mother’s car into a garage near Clinton and Delno avenues in central Fresno shortly before 2 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2015.
Once Maldonado ran, the woman called 911.
A police helicopter located Maldonado hiding in the backyard of a home on the 700 block of West Terrace Avenue. When he refused to surrender, officers unleashed a police dog named Laci, who grabbed Maldonado as he tried to jump a fence, Janz told the jury. Officers later found a gun that Maldonado had hidden on top of an awning, Janz said.
Officers later searched Maldonado’s room at his mother's home and discovered cocaine, methamphetamine and a scale, and a rifle under his bed. They also found ammunition that matched the bullets in the handgun that officers found on the awning, Janz said.