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Man Who Led Police on 4-County Chase Sentenced to 60 Years


POMONA — A Santa Ana man who shot a Pomona police officer during a botched robbery attempt in March and then led police on a televised four-county chase with a hostage at his side has been sentenced to 60 years in prison in a plea bargain, according to prosecutors.

Regino Deharo Jr., 21, pleaded no contest in Pomona Superior Court last Thursday to six counts of second-degree attempted murder, four counts of assault with a firearm on a peace officer, one count of hostage taking, two counts of second-degree robbery, and one count of first-degree residential robbery, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Grosbard.

Deharo had a prior drug conviction for which he served time, tacking an additional year to his sentence.

Media coverage of the chase gave prosecutors great advantage in plea-bargain discussions, Grosbard said.

"You could clearly see him pointing the gun at the officers, if not pulling the trigger," Grosbard said.

Deharo is expected to serve at least 30 years. Although that is more time than many murderers spend behind bars, Grosbard said the sentence is justified.

"His conduct was extremely aggravated, and he posed a danger not only to the officers he was shooting at, but all those people who were running out to see what was going on. He's really a very dangerous person."

Last month, Deharo's co-defendant, 28-year-old Jesus Garcia of Pomona, was sentenced in Pomona Superior Court to 12 years in prison for residential robbery with the use of a gun. Garcia ran out of the Chelsa Drive house and was apprehended by police before any shooting began, Grosbard said.

Another suspect, 20-year-old Jose Valencia of Santa Ana, is being sought by authorities.

Deharo was sentenced to 17 years for shooting Pomona police Officer Roger Mathews in the arm while the officer was investigating a 911 hang-up call from a Pomona house, Grosbard said. After Deharo shot Mathews, he and a second suspect jumped in a car and drove to Ontario, where Deharo took Bob Moxley of Upland hostage, commandeered Moxley's truck and forced him to elude police on a dramatic chase that spanned four counties.

Deharo was captured after the truck was forced to stop and he fled into a Santa Ana cul-de-sac. Moxley was unharmed.

Deharo was charged with firing at six police officers and pointing his gun at four others, from departments in Pomona, Ontario, Santa Ana and Anaheim, Grosbard said.

In exchange for the plea, first-degree attempted murder charges were reduced to second-degree charges, and 11 other charges were dismissed, he said.

Police had gone to the Chelsa Drive house in response to a 911 hang-up call, presumably from one of the children in the house, Grosbard said. Other family members were found huddled in a back room, where they hid from the robbers.

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