A man who claimed he was only trying to get warm in an idling car was found guilty Tuesday of carjacking and assault.
A Fresno County Superior Court jury only needed a few hours to reach four guilty verdicts against Isaac Sanders, 32, for his involvement in the 2012 carjacking of two women at the downtown Fresno Community Market.
The two women stopped outside the market at Blackstone and Illinois avenues around 7 p.m. on Dec. 28, 2012. One went into the store, while the other stayed in the car.
Sanders approached the car, pulled out a .25-caliber handgun and demanded the keys. The victim mocked the small gun: “Are you kidding me?” After he fired it into the air, she relented and let him into the Honda.
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A nearby driver called police and followed the car until officers began a pursuit. Sanders eventually crashed the car near First Street and Illinois Avenue.
Beth Ann Lee, Sanders’ defense attorney, said Sanders did get in the Honda, but only to get warm during a cold night. She contended that the carjacker already had abandoned the vehicle before Sanders hopped in.
The jurors didn’t buy the defense. They found Sanders guilty of both carjacking counts and one assault count – each with gun enhancements – as well as an evading arrest charge. He was found not guilty on a second assault charge.
Sanders, who has prior convictions on his record, will likely face up to 32 years in prison term when he is sentenced.