Judge saves Templeton teen from facing 19-years in jail
Templeton teen involved in violent home robbery will be tried as a minor
– Wyatt Douglas Warnars, a 17-year-old Templeton resident who is accused of taking part in a violent home robbery in Templeton, was spared from facing a 19-year sentence after Judge John Trice decided Thursday that the teen should be tried as a juvenile. Under California State law, juveniles can only be held until their 23rd birthday.
The passing of Prop. 57 has changed the way that minors are prosecuted. For certain crimes, the county district attorney was previously allowed to move the case to an adult trial. Now, after the passing of Prop. 57, when a DA believes a minor should be charged as an adult, the suspect attends a transfer hearing where a judge decides how to proceed.
In this case, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office recommended that Warnars be tried as an adult. “We felt that this particular minor, because of the nature of the crime and his participation, that he should have been tried in an adult court,” said Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham. Trice made the decision to try Warnars as a minor despite the DA’s request.
Warnas was facing 19 years in prison if he accepted a plea deal offered by the DA’s office, or up to 100 years if found guilty of all charges. He was accused of a number of felonies including home invasion and assault with a deadly weapon.
In July of 2016, it was reported that about 20 teenagers and young adults who had been attending a party in the 4700 block of See Ranch Lane in Templeton had been the victims of a home invasion robbery.
According to witnesses, three to five suspects entered the home, fired shots into the air and then ordered everyone to the floor. The suspects were dressed all in black with bandanas wrapped around their faces. The suspects proceeded to take several victims’ cell phones and wallets. The suspects then took off in their vehicle as well as two of the victim’s vehicles, a white BMW and a white Chevy pickup truck, according to the sheriff’s office.
Five suspects were arrested in connection with the crime: Warnars, as well as Levi Cody Mattson, 17; Marshal Ryan Kaplan, 16; Donovan James Alvord, 19; and Albert Charles Heinicke Jr., 18.
The two other suspects who were underage during the time of the crime, Mattson and Kaplan, have a similar transfer hearing scheduled for March 2. The DA has put in a request for these suspects to be tried as adults as well. “We think that the way in which these crimes were alleged to be committed – weapons were involved, there was a degree of sophistication– that, although they were under 18, they were of an age that they can appreciate their conduct,” said Cunningham.