An East Palo Alto man with 15 prior felony convictions was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Tuesday for burglary, including an incident where he entered a home through a pet door, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's office.
James Grady, 60, was previously serving a 25-years-to-life sentence for a prior 2003 commercial burglary. But he was released from prison over the district attorney's objection in 2013 under Proposition 36, which reduced certain provisions under the Three Strikes Law. Prop 36 authorizes re-sentencing for nonviolent offenders currently serving life sentences whose crimes are not serious and if a judge determines that re-sentencing does not pose unreasonable risk to public safety.
Grady had 15 prior felony convictions, 11 of which are strike convictions. He entered a home in Atherton through an unlocked door on Jan. 20, 2014, and was confronted by the resident, but Grady fled on a bicycle. Responding police pursued Grady in a lengthy chase through Atherton and Menlo Park, including jumping fences and going through backyards. Police called off the search after several hours.
During the search Grady burglarized another home in Menlo Park by entering through the doggy door, according to the DA. He hid in the home and drank tequila and beer. Grady also stole $62,000 worth of jewelry and other property from the home.
Police were able to identify him in that burglary from DNA and fingerprints left on the alcohol bottles. While fleeing officers after the first incident, he abandoned his jean jacket containing his cellphone and Veterans Administration identification card. Police arrested Grady weeks later in Oakland. The victim of the first burglary identified him, according to the DA.
Grady pleaded no contest on Jan. 27 to one count of residential burglary with special allegations and to having two prior felony strikes. He was sentenced to 25 years to life with 407 days for credit served. He will appear in San Mateo County Superior Court on Wednesday for a restitution hearing.