A local veteran who pleaded no contest a year ago to one count of possessing an assault weapon after he allegedly forced his way into a Saugus home, prompting a family to cower inside a room, was sentenced to 95 days in jail and ordered into nearly a dozen treatment programs.
Jeremiah Charles Ditch, 37, of Santa Clarita, was arrested in December 2016 on suspicion of burglary in connection with an intruder incident on the 28400 block of Santa Rosa Lane.
He pleaded no contest in August 2017 to one count of possessing an assault weapon.
On July 18, Ditch was sentenced at the San Fernando Superior Court “ to probation for a term of four years” at San Fernando Superior Court, said Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
“Mr. Ditch voluntarily completed a residential drug treatment program called Cornerstone and completed several mental health treatment programs through the Veterans Administration,” he said.
Terms of Mr. Ditch’s probation included:
- Serve 95 days in Los Angeles County jail.
- Complete the Veterans Administration “Grant and Per Diem program” at Volunteers of America and reside there until he is discharged.
- After his discharge from the Grant and Per Diem program, Ditch is to reside with his father.
- Continue psychiatric treatment.
- Take any prescribed medications and abstain from illicit drugs and excessive alcohol use.
- Pursue counseling and therapy at a veteran’s center.
- Participate in Seeking Safety groups.
- Seek substance abuse counseling.
- Random drug testing through the Probation Department.
- Stay away from the victims and their residence.
- Pay restitution.
12 Continue to take part in mental health treatment.
On Dec. 10, 2016, a Saugus family endured 22 minutes of terror when they barricaded themselves inside an upstairs bedroom listening to the gunman — a stranger — try to kick down their front door.
The incident began with the doorbell ringing at 5 a.m.
The man seen through the front door peep hole was, reportedly, holding a gun and aiming at the homes across the street.
A Saugus couple huddled inside a bedroom with their 15-year-old daughter and two dogs as the intruder continued to kick the front door.
Twenty minutes after the ordeal began, the gunman finally broke into house.
Within two of minutes of the entry, deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station arrived at the house and arrested Ditch.
A week later, Ditch was ordered to undergo testing to determine his mental competency, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said at the time..
The results of that testing revealed Ditch was mentally competent to stand trial, Santiago said at the time.
The Grant and Per Diem Program is run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The goal of program, according to its website, is to “meet the evolving needs of homeless Veterans.”
Last week, the VA announced it plans to provide about $200 million in fiscal year 2019 funding to support more than 13,000 transitional housing beds for its Grant and Per Diem Program.
The VA announced in a news release Thursday, its intention to award about $2.7 million to renew 12 Special Need grants for support services for homeless veterans who have chronic mental illnesses, women veterans and veterans who must care for dependents under age 18.