La Mesa man found guilty in road rage incident

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A jury deliberated only 45 minutes before finding Thomas Crayton Sikes guilty of felony assault and elder abuse involving a road rage incident in the parking lot of an El Cajon pharmacy.

Sikes, 57, of La Mesa, had been free on $150,000 bond, but was remanded to jail by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson immediately after the verdict on Feb. 25.

A jury deliberated only 45 minutes before finding Thomas Crayton Sikes guilty of felony assault and elder abuse involving a road rage incident in the parking lot of an El Cajon pharmacy.

Sikes, 57, of La Mesa, had been free on $150,000 bond, but was remanded to jail by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson immediately after the verdict on Feb. 25.

Sentencing was set for March 24 and he faces a maximum term of nine years in state prison, said Deputy District Attorney Carlos Campbell.

The incident took place on April 30, 2014 at 10:10 a.m. when Sikes apparently had a parking dispute with Ronald Torncello, 76. Torncello was punched in the face in the parking lot at CVS Pharmacy, 572 Fletcher Parkway, and was taken to a hospital.

The incident was captured by surveillance cameras and was available on the Internet after released by El Cajon Police. Following a tip, Sikes was arrested in July.

Lakeside man sentenced for multiple robberies

A burglar who took items from two churches in El Cajon and Ramona and committed five other burglaries elsewhere has been sentenced to 33 years and eight months in state prison.

Christopher Richard Szumski, 33, of Lakeside, cried softly as he heard El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein impose the term. Szumski will have to serve 85 percent, or 28 years before he could be paroled.

The long sentence is due to Szumski having two prior burglary convictions for which he served two separate prison terms in 2000 and 2004. This made him a third strike defendant and he received doubled sentences consecutively for each burglary.

Goldstein ordered Szumski to pay $420 to the East Valley Christian Fellowship in El Cajon. Deputy District Attorney Andrew Aguilar said stolen items from the El Cajon church was found in Szumski’s possession. He was charged with receiving stolen property.

No restitution was ordered for break-ins at two buildings at St. Mary’s in-the-Valley Episcopal Church in Ramona in 2014. Items taken were a safe, sacramental wine, checks, cash, and communion silver. The safe was found in a Lakeside dumpster.

Aguilar asked Goldstein for 37 years and eight months. Szumski could have received a sentence of 216 years to life in prison. He received credits of 274 days in jail and an $8,373 fine.

Stacy Gulley, attorney for Szumski, mentioned to the judge that the co-defendant, Brandon James Tye, 20, of Lakeside, was placed on three years probation and released from jail Dec. 11 with credit for eight months in jail, which was time served.

Goldstein said Tye’s case was different from Szumski who pleaded guilty to eight burglaries and he had been to prison twice before for burglary. Tye was 19 at the time and didn’t have a record.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Szumski and Tye on April 22, 2014 and found stolen property in a vehicle they were using. The other burglaries for which Szumski pleaded guilty occurred in Lakeside, San Diego, and San Marcos. Tye pleaded guilty to two burglaries in Lakeside and San Marcos.