General Crime

Maurice Ainsworth sentenced to 138 years plus six life sentences in Santa Cruz for 31 other charges

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A man was sentenced to 138 years plus six life sentences in Santa Cruz today after being convicted of 39 crimes in connection with an assault on a sheriff’s deputy during an armed escape attempt while a jail inmate in 2010. Santa Cruz County Judge Paul Burdick imposed the stiff sentence on Maurice Ainsworth, 27, who had been convicted of eight charges of kidnapping and 31 other charges, according to Assistant District Attorney Celia Rowland.

The sentence reflected the “egregious” nature of the crimes committed and the judge decided the defendant deserved the aggravated, or highest level of punishment allowed by state law, Rowland said. The six life sentences, which must be served consecutively, came from the kidnapping allegations and the 138 years from the other 31 charges, Rowland said.

Those charges included attempted murder, assault on a peace officer, jail escape, false imprisonment for purposes of escape, robbery and burglary, Rowland said. Ainsworth was arrested on Nov. 29, 2010, following a five-hour standoff with Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputies after he beat up a deputy, fired a gun at a nurse and held a gun to the head of a pre-school teacher.

Earlier that day, Ainsworth was in jail awaiting trial for an alleged kidnapping and home invasion when sheriff’s Deputy Cathy Bramanti escorted him to an appointment at a medical clinic in Santa Cruz. After Ainsworth’s visit ended, Bramanti was affixing shackles to his feet when Ainsworth, who stands about 6 feet 8 inches tall, punched the deputy in the face and repeatedly threw her onto the floor, Rowland said.

Ainsworth fled, Bramanti ran after him and the two then fought again, as Bramanti tried to keep Ainsworth from grabbing her .40-caliber handgun. Ainsworth then took her Taser instead and Tased the deputy on the ear and neck, disabling her, then he stole her gun and fired a shot that just missed a nurse who had tried to help Bramanti. The man then ran out of the clinic and into the Secret Garden Too preschool, where he accosted a teacher, held the gun to her head in front of several infants and demanded her car keys.

Ainsworth fled with the keys but did not use the nurse’s car, instead he entered a home in the 100 block of English Drive and over the next five hours moved between two neighboring homes as sheriff’s deputies stood by. He ingested prescription drugs he found and briefly held two people hostage in one home, allowed them to leave unharmed and finally surrendered later that evening.

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