Crime

He’s 43 years old. Judge sentenced him to 354 years in prison for shooting at motorists

A photo of Jorge Javier Gracia displayed at a Fresno County Sheriff’s Office news conference.
A photo of Jorge Javier Gracia displayed at a Fresno County Sheriff’s Office news conference. jguy@fresnobee.com

A 43-year-old Kerman man who terrorized motorists in west Fresno County and Madera County by randomly shooting at them was sentenced Monday to 354 years to life in prison.

On Oct. 5, Jorge Javier Gracia was found guilty in Fresno Superior Court of 19 felony charges related to six shootings — five in Fresno County and one in Madera County — between late November and mid-December last year.

Most of the shootings happened along Highway 145 near Kerman, west of Fresno. Vehicles were struck by gunfire, but no one was injured.

Still, victims were “traumatized” by the experience, said prosecutor Katherine Plante. In one case, bullets came mere feet from a child strapped into a car seat.

“He was terrorizing our community,” Plante said of Gracia after his conviction. “People have the right to drive in their cars without being afraid of being shot, and he took that right away from us for a period of time.”

Gracia was found guilty of all charges, including assault with a semi-automatic firearm, shooting at an occupied vehicle, brandishing a weapon at a person in a vehicle, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of ammunition by a felon and possession of a controlled substance with a firearm.

He also has previous convictions, for rape in 1997 and assault with the intent to commit rape in 1999.

During Gracia’s trial, the key evidence included law enforcement matching bullets that struck vehicles to those from Gracia’s gun and cell phone records put Gracia in the area where the shootings occurred, Plante said. There was also “gunshot residue all over his car,” and a photo of the gun used in the shooting on Gracia’s phone, Plante said.

Pablo Lopez: 559-441-6434, @beecourts
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