SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — A 31-year-old man working as a DoorDash driver did not contest felony assault charges for attacking a clerk at a liquor store in South San Francisco last March after the clerk asked him to properly wear his face mask in the store, San Mateo County prosecutors said Tuesday.
Rimmer Cortezgarcia Jr. pleaded for the attack that occurred the night of March 24, 2021 at the Friends Market at 200 San Felipe Ave., where he went to get a DoorDash order for someone, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office of the Republic.
READ MORE: Removal of rockslide debris on Highway 1 near Monterey-SLO county line will cause delays
The 25-year-old store worker saw that Cortezgarcia didn’t have his face mask covering his nose and asked him to do so or his order would be cancelled. Cortezgarcia then went behind the counter to argue with the clerk and pushed him and the clerk pushed him back. Cortezgarcia then grabbed him by the throat and pushed him into an ice cream freezer while threatening to kill him, prosecutors said.
The clerk was eventually able to run to the back of the store and called 911, and Cortezgarcia was arrested outside the store.
He made the no contest plea on Monday in exchange for a proposed sentence of up to a year in county jail. Cortezgarcia remains out of custody on his own recognizance and is expected to be sentenced March 7, prosecutors said.
Cortezgarcia’s defense attorney Steve Chase called the case “a product of our time” in the COVID-19 pandemic and said his client was at the same store the day before wearing his mask from the same way.
READ MORE: UPDATE: Skyline Boulevard on the Peninsula has reopened after downed trees and power lines were removed
Chase noted that Cortezgarcia waited outside the store after the encounter and believed “he was the wronged one”.
Cortezgarcia was “essentially homeless” and lost her car after the arrest, and postponed buying an apartment due to the ongoing criminal case, Chase said.
He decided to take the plea deal to avoid a possible state prison sentence if the case went to trial, and Chase said he hoped his client would receive as short a sentence as possible.
“COVID has been very hard on him but he’s a hard worker, he’s doing his best to get through it,” Chase said.
NO MORE NEWS: The arrival of the Salinas twins leads to a unique birthday dilemma
© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.