An Exeter teen will spend 17 years in prison for his part in the attempted murder of a woman and an ensuing crime spree that eventually ended in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Judge Darryl Ferguson sentenced 18-year-old Pete Spray of Exeter on Oct. 24. Spray pleaded no contest to one count each of attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery, criminal threats, and auto theft. All of the above counts included the special allegation that Spray was armed with a firearm while committing the crimes. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but carries the same sentence as a guilty plea.
Assistant District Attorney Anthony Fultz said Spray was facing a maximum sentence of 23 years in prison for the crimes but the sentence was reduced as part of a plea agreement. Spray was just 17 years old at the time of the crimes but was tried as an adult, an option due to the severity of the crimes as long as the minor is at least 16 years old, Fultz said.
“I wouldn’t say he was the ring leader of this group even though he was the oldest,” Fultz said.
Fultz said Spray and three other juveniles – Wyatt Valle, 14, and Ronald Jones and Logan Heath, both 13 – went to the home of one of their aunt’s on April 4 and ordered a pizza to lure a delivery driver to the home in the 200 block of S. Anderson Road in Exeter.
“The aunt was not home and did not have any knowledge of the crimes,” Fultz said.
The victim later told Tulare County Sheriff’s Deputies she was sent to the back of the house for payment where she was bound, blindfolded, taken into the house, robbed, terrorized, and threatened with rape and death. She was told that she would be killed, cut into pieces, placed into her car, and her body parts would be scattered. The four teens then tried to kill her by breaking her neck. When they were unsuccessful they forced the victim to swallow multiple pills in an effort to cause her to overdose.
The teens then loaded her car with supplies and took it on their way out of state. After they left, the victim managed to free herself and ran to a neighbor’s home were she vomited the pills she was forced to swallow. Law enforcement was called and she was taken to the hospital for treatment.
On April 7, Spray was arrested for shoplifting at a Walmart in Las Vegas. When Las Vegas authorities discovered the stolen car Spray admitted to his role in the crimes. He was returned to Tulare County where he has been detained since. Fultz said the other three juveniles fled the scene when police showed up in the store parking lot. The three found a family in Las Vegas willing to take them after they told them a lie about their situation.
“They duped the family into thinking they needed help,” Fultz said. “The family was unaware of anything they had done.”
Fultz said one of the teens posted about where they were on Facebook and police were able to narrow the search and eventually track them down. On April 8, Las Vegas PD, with assistance from the US Marshal’s Office, arrested Heath, Valle and Jones in the Las Vegas area. Fultz said two of the three teens have been “adjudicated” but another is still awaiting trial. Fultz could not release any information about the court cases because they are minors.
This case was investigated by Tulare County Sheriff Office Detective Rodney Klassen. This case was prosecuted by Tulare County Deputy District Attorney Steven Afsahi.