WACO (February 6, 2014) A Dallas-area man pleaded guilty Thursday to participating with two other men in the robbery of a Waco grocery store and the kidnapping of a store employee.
Judge Matt Johnson, in the 54th District Court, sentenced Julio Cesar Medina, 24, to serve 30 years in state prison after Medina pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping, court records showed.
On January 10, Josias Chavez, 20, pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
In October 2013, Marco Polo Medina-Gonzalez, 29, pleaded guilty in the same case and a jury empanelled to decide punishment sentenced him to 80 years on the robbery, 80 years on the kidnapping and 10 more for evading arrest in a motor vehicle, all of which were ordered to run concurrently.
All the cases stem from the September 2012 robbery of the Super Plaza Grocery Store during which the store's assistant manager was abducted.
Medina-Gonzalez was a former employee of the store and was accused of recruiting the other two men to carry out the robbery and abduction, which was foiled by a passerby who called police at around midnight on Sept. 28, 2012, to report what he thought was a robbery in progress at the supermarket at 1320 North 25th St.
Police arrived just as two men ran out of the store and jumped into a waiting Toyota sedan, which sped away with officers in pursuit.
The chase ended abruptly at the intersection of Bosque Boulevard and Brookview Circle when the car hit a tree, leaving the occupants stunned.
Two of the men tried to run, but were caught after a brief foot chase.
The driver was pulled from the car and taken into custody.
The men didn't have a chance to use the AK-47 assault rifle, Uzi 9-mm automatic pistol and handgun with which they were armed.
The sequence of events leading up to what police say was a well-planned attempt to rob the store began when the three men followed the store's assistant manager after he closed the store for the night.
Near North 18th Street and Bosque they rammed his car, and then pulled in front of the vehicle to make it impossible for him to escape.
Two of the men ran to the manager's car, forced their way in at gunpoint, and ordered him to drive back to the store while the third man followed in the Toyota.
The two men, who were wearing military-style clothing and ski masks, forced the manager at gunpoint to enter the store and to deactivate the alarm system while the third man waited outside in the car.
The two men assaulted the victim and attempted to break into the store's safe, for which the manager did not have the combination.
The prompt arrival of police forced the would-be robbers to flee before they could get the safe open and they escaped empty-handed, police said.
The assistant store manager suffered minor injuries and was taken to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center for treatment, as were two of the three suspects.