California Deputies Plead Guilty in Beating of Firefighter

Apr. 24–NORWALK — Two off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff‘s deputies who beat up an off-duty firefighter in Pomona nearly two years ago entered guilty pleas Thursday, officials said.

Deputy Joshua Titel, 32, entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said in written statement.

Deputy Brian Richards, also 32, entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor count of battery in connection with the attack on the off-duty firefighter, she added.

“Norwalk Superior Court Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell took the plea and immediately sentenced each defendant to three years of probation,” Davila-Morales said in the statement.

The firefighter required several weeks of medical treatment before he could return to work, District Attorney’s officials said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said the deputies have been relieved of duty without pay since criminal charges were first filed against them, which occurred in October of last year.

“Nobody’s above the law,” Whitmore said.

He added the department’s internal investigation into the incident is just beginning.

“Now that the criminal case is over, the internal affairs will begin its investigation to determine their disposition with the Sheriff’s Department,” Whitmore said.

The deputies, who are not

being paid, will remain off-duty through the completion of that investigation, he said.

Titel and Richards were last assigned to the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles, Whitmore said.

The attack, in which Titel and Richards beat and kicked the firefighter until he lay face down in a pool of blood, occurred June 24, 2007, outside a home in Pomona, District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

The prosecutor in the case, Deputy District Attorney Susan Schwartz, declined to comment.

In addition to probation, Titel was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, complete a one-year anger-management program and attend 52 alcoholics anonymous meetings, Davila-Morales said in the statement. He was also barred from owning or possessing a firearm during his probation.

Richards was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service, officials said.

According to the written statement, both men were also ordered to pay restitution to their victim, Stephen Paige, and are due back in Norwalk Superior Court on July 2 for a restitution hearing.

Staff writer Frank C. Girardot contributed to this story.

brian.day@sgvn.com

(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2718

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