An Orange County man who hit an ampm clerk with a metal bar was convicted by a jury Wednesday of robbery and elder abuse.
Jacob Walton, 24, was initially charged in the case with his mother. However, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office dropped the accomplice case in May after learning the mother had died.
According to a news release issued by the prosecution, the crime occurred on Feb. 22 in Pismo Beach. Deputy District Attorney Greg Devitt, who prosecuted the case, said the following occurred:
Walton and his mother entered the store sometime close to 3 a.m., hoping to buy snacks and cigarettes. Walton did not have cash, however, and multiple credit and debit cards did not work.
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The 66-year-old clerk asked them to leave the store and eventually locked the doors with a metal bar. After Walton violently shook the doors, the clerk opened them. An argument ensued, and the clerk was shoved to the ground. Walton then grabbed the metal bar and hit the clerk in the hand, causing it to bleed.
The clerk, an Indian Sikh, was wearing a turban on his head. Walton forcefully tore that turban off and handed it to his mother, who then tied the patka to the back of their car, covering the license plate.
While the turban removal was meant to demean the victim, Devitt said, there wasn’t enough evidence to prove it was a hate crime.
Most of the incident was caught on surveillance cameras, Devitt said.
Walton, convicted of felony robbery and misdemeanor elder abuse, is set to be sentenced Sept. 14.
His mother had been charged as an accessory to the crime and with carrying a concealed dirk or dagger.