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J.L. Sousa/Register

SANTA ROSA -- A Southern California man who was convicted of the premeditated attempted murder of an armored car guard during a bank robbery in Windsor and of a Calistoga police officer in Napa County in 2016 was sentenced Thursday afternoon to 51 years to life in prison.

Sergey Gutsu, 25, of Antelope, pleaded no contest to the attempted murders and robbery of an armored car guard, weapons assault charges and driving a stolen vehicle.

Gutsu's co-defendant Ivan Morales, 25, of Lakeport, was convicted Jan. 4 by a Sonoma County Superior Court jury of the attempted murder of the guard, assault on the Calistoga police officer, robbery and personal discharge of a firearm. He faces 33 years to life in prison when he is sentenced March 8.

The defendants were tried at the same time by separate juries.

Opening statements began in October and the trial was interrupted by the Tubbs wildfire in Sonoma County on Oct. 8.

Gutsu then pleaded no contest and the Morales jury did not deliberate over the December holidays.

The armored car guard, identified as "Glenn" during the trial, was shot in the shoulder, arm and leg outside the Chase Bank in Windsor on July 12, 2016 and spent several weeks in the hospital.

Morales and Gutsu drove to Windsor in a Suzuki that was hijacked in Sacramento. They waited outside the bank and pulled behind the Loomis truck when the guard got out with a moneybag.

Morales and Gutsu then fled to Calistoga in a Chevrolet Suburban, where Calistoga police officer Luis Paniagua collided his patrol car into the Chevrolet. Gutsu got out of the car and shot at Paniagua's patrol car and he was arrested at the scene.

Morales fled but he was found later hiding in a culvert.

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Gutsu told the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office the incident was a "robbery gone bad." He said he grabbed the moneybag that contained $30,000 and Morales shot at the Loomis guard.

Deputy District Attorney Chris Honigsberg told Judge Patrick Broderick that the defendants' behavior "was just absolutely egregious, callous and dangerous" to Windsor and Calistoga residents, in addition to the victims. He said only the firewall in Paniagua's patrol car saved him from being killed.

Gutsu's attorney Jon Rankin said his client had accepted responsibility and he is resigned to spending life in prison. Gutsu did not make a statement in court.

Broderick noted Gutsu told the county probation department he shot at Paniagua intending to kill him. Broderick said both defendants took a tremendous amount of time planning the armored car robbery like a military operation.

The 51 years and four months to life in prison sentence is the maximum term Gutsu faced under the plea agreement.

Bay City News Service

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