The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County District Attorney:
With his jury trial scheduled to get underway next Monday (9/27), defendant Kevin Aubry Seltenrich, age 69, of Sonoma County, instead waived his right to trial on Friday morning and changed his not guilty plea to guilty of having committed robbery in the second degree.
As background, the defendant entered the Rite Aid store in Fort Bragg on July 6th and demanded money of a clerk, threatening that he had a gun and would use it to shoot her if she did not give him money.
Responding to Rite Aid’s 9-1-1 call, the Fort Bragg Police Department began canvassing the nearby area looking for the distinctively-appearing thief. Within five minutes, defendant Seltenrich was found in a nearby alley hunkered down, counting the stolen $1,333. No firearm was ever located.
Defendant Seltenrich also admitted Friday morning a sentencing enhancement charging that he had suffered a Strike conviction for bank robbery in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in October 2017.
To resolve his case and avoid a far greater punishment, defendant Seltenrich stipulated to a 10 year state prison sentence and waived all of his pre-sentence credits from July 6th through October 8, 2021, the date now set for formal sentencing.
According to the District Attorney, defendant Seltenrich is a career criminal who has suffered at least 12 prior convictions, 11 of which are Strikes within the meaning of California’s voter-modified Three Strikes law.
In addition to the Strike admission mentioned above, the defendant has also suffered the following felony convictions:
- Three separate felony bank robbery convictions in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in April 2009;
- Felony escape from custody in the District Court for the Northern District of California in April 2009;
- Felony bank robbery in a U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California in December 1984 [for which he served 20 years];
- Two separate felony robberies in the second degree in the Alameda County Superior Court in 1982;
- Three separate felony robberies in the second degree in the San Francisco County Superior Court in 1977; and
- Felony robbery in the second degree in the San Francisco County Superior Court in 1973.
Robbery is characterized by current California law as a violent felony so any work or good time credits the defendant may attempt to earn towards his early release from state prison on state parole supervision shall be limited to no more than 15% of the total sentence that will be imposed, meaning the defendant should be required by prison authorities to serve 8-and-a-half years.
When asked why he did not hold out for a full Three Strikes sentence against this defendant, the prosecutor said he did not believe it was a good use of taxpayer dollars to pursue what could have been a state prison sentence of up to 85 years to life against a 69-year old defendant reportedly in failing health.
“Should he survive the commitment, I expect that the eight plus years — the real time that this thief will have to actually serve in state prison — should be sufficient time to make clear to this defendant and others that robbers in Fort Bragg will get caught, they will be prosecuted, and they will end up in state prison,” said the prosecutor.
At some point this defendant will also be required to answer to a federal judge for having violated his federal supervised release by committing the July Fort Bragg robbery.
The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence underlying the defendant’s robbery conviction and Strike admission were the Fort Bragg Police Department and the District Attorney’s own Bureau of Investigations.
The prosecutor who has been handling this case and would have presented the evidence to a jury had the case gone to trial is District Attorney David Eyster.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman accepted the defendant’s change of plea Friday morning and either Judge Moorman or Judge Carly Dolan will preside over the sentencing hearing on October 8th.