REDWOOD CITY -- A 23-year-old man was sentenced to two years in prison for trying to drown his employer and her 9-week-old puppy in a ¿drug-fueled attack.
Jorge Ruiz-Martinez was convicted of animal cruelty and burglary charges on Feb. 28 and was sentenced Friday to two years in prison plus $2,200 restitution to his victim and former employer in Pescadero, prosecutors said. He also received credit for 184 days already spent behind bars.
Ruiz-Martinez, who worked as a ranch hand at the Castagnetto Family Ranch where the attacks took place, was caught trying to drown the woman's newborn puppy on Nov. 3 in the main home where ranch hands are not allowed.
The woman, who is 67, rescued her puppy, Heidi, after she saw Ruiz-Martinez entering the main house and heard yelping from her pet.
The woman ran inside the home in the 1600 block of Pescadero Creek Road and saw Ruiz-Martinez holding the puppy and forcing water down its throat from a bottle. She pried the choking puppy from the man's hands, then pushed him out the door and locked it behind her.
As she called her son, the ranch manager, to come help her, Ruiz-Martinez reportedly shattered the sliding glass door with two large rocks and barged into the house, prosecutors said. He grabbed the 5-foot-1-inch woman by the neck and began choking her, then dragged her into the kitchen and held her mouth under a running faucet.
Ruiz-Martinez left the house after she yelled through choked gasps that help was coming. He was found him lying in a nearby field under the influence of methamphetamine. He was not charged with attempted murder, prosecutors said, because of insufficient evidence that he actually intended to kill his employer.
"There's no evidence that he wanted to murder her but rather to cause significant harm," Deputy District Attorney Sean Gallagher said. "She's elderly and fragile, and it could have turned out really badly."
Ruiz-Martinez will begin serving out the remainder of his prison term immediately, a period of about a year and a half.