Jeanne Jones had previously identified Leon Powell Jr., 27, of Inglewood, as one of two burglars. Powell pleaded guilty to residential burglary on Jan. 15.
“Mr. Powell, with all of his apologies, won’t give us the name of the man with him,” Jones said. “I’m still in shock people can do this to other people.”
Jones told San Diego Superior Court Judge Charles Gill of her terror when awakened in bed by two men ransacking her home and looking for jewelry on the night of Oct. 5, 2013. Jones' husband was out of town during the incident.
“I had a cell phone ripped out of my hand,” Jones said. “Two men were going through my bedroom, throwing things around.” Jones added that the jewelry contained irreplaceable items, such as her grandmother’s wedding ring.
Deputy district attorney Jalyn Wang urged a six-year sentence, while the probation department recommended four years.
“This was not a crime of opportunity,” Wang said. “She was targeted.”
Jones' home has been burglarized three times. The first case centered on the boyfriend of a former caretaker. Extensive sentences were handed down to four men in a 2011 home invasion robbery.
Powell was silent in court. His attorney, James Pokorny, said his client has remorse and recommended a two-year term. “He got pulled into something that was over his head,” said Pokorny.
Gill gave Powell credit for two days served and imposed a fine of $1,344. Gill ordered that restitution payments would be taken before any money is collected for the fine.
Powell’s DNA was found on disconnected wires to Jones’ video security system. Pokorny claimed Powell’s DNA was found because he worked in the security industry.
Wang said her office recently forwarded evidence to the defense that Powell’s cell phone signal was used to ping off cell towers in La Jolla the night of the burglary.
Except for gems the burglars dropped, the jewelry has not been recovered.
Jones, 77, is internationally known in the field of light cuisine and the author of more than 30 cookbooks. Her "Cook It Light" recipe makeover column reaches 30 million readers a week.
Jones said she has put up her house for sale.