Stockton – Today, District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar announced that Jeff Hardcastle, age 51, was sentenced on November 18, 2019, to 9 years in state prison for attacking two children in the Target store located on Kettleman Lane in Lodi, California.
“An unprovoked attack on unsuspecting children is unacceptable conduct for this office and the good people of San Joaquin County,” said District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar.
According to court records, on August 28, 2019, Lodi Police responded to a call from Target personnel that a man had attacked two children inside the Target store located at 2355 W. Kettleman Lane in Lodi, California. Police officers arrived to find two young boys, ages 11 and 5, suffering from injuries from the attack. According to witnesses, a man wearing all black clothing and covered in tattoos approached the two boys who were looking at video games and punched both of them about the head and face. He then fled to the back of the store and left through a rear fire exit.
Upon arrival, officers were informed by loss prevention personnel that Hardcastle has been behaving oddly and was being monitored by them. He was seen on video surveillance calmly approaching the boys and then suddenly he punched one of them on the back of the head and the other boy in the face. The 5 year old was bleeding profusely from his nose and mouth area and sought treatment at the hospital. He sustained a concussion from the incident. Fortunately, the 11 year old did not suffer any serious injuries.
Mr. Hardcastle was familiar to the Lodi police, as he had been arrested the week prior for public intoxication. Mr. Hardcastle was noncompliant when officers tried to arrest him but thanks to the professional efforts by Lodi Police Department, he was arrested without injury to himself or the officers. It appeared that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.
Mr. Hardcastle pled no contest to Count One, a violation of Penal Code §245(a)(4), assault likely to cause great bodily injury and admitted to causing great bodily injury to a minor pursuant to Penal Code §12022.7. He also admitted to previously committing a prior “strike” offense, a robbery (Penal Code §211), in 2008 in San Joaquin County. A prior strike offense is a conviction for a serious or violent felony as defined in Penal Code §§1170.12(b)/667(d). The Honorable Phil Urie sentenced him to a total of 9 years in state prison.
This case was brought to a successful and speedy resolution by Deputy District Attorney Kathy Murray. Although the victim’s father was present in court, he opted not to make a statement but was satisfied with the sentence. The District Attorney’s Office wishes to commend the Lodi Police Department for apprehending Mr. Hardcastle in a safe and professional manner despite his reluctance to cooperate.