Man pleads guilty to kidnapping and assault in La Jolla resident’s beating in 2019

Court gavel and law books

A man who tied up and beat a La Jolla resident at the victim’s home in a financially motivated attack pleaded guilty May 26 to charges of kidnapping, burglary and assault with a deadly weapon.

Robert Whitaker, 59, is slated to be sentenced Aug. 23 to nearly 20 years in state prison for the June 12, 2019, assault, which prosecutors said was committed in an attempt to get money from the victim. Other charges, including a torture count, were dismissed as a result of his plea.

According to testimony from Whitaker’s 2019 preliminary hearing, the defendant was living with a woman who was the victim’s next-door neighbor on Mar Avenue.

San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Kristie Nikoletich said Whitaker, a construction contractor, was in dire financial straits and was invited into the victim’s home under the guise of inspecting the residence.

Nikoletich said Whitaker took the victim into the garage, bound his wrists with a ziptie and struck him about the head and face around 30 times with his fists and a wooden club while demanding money and/or valuable items. No money was ever obtained.

Whitaker was arrested later that day. ◆