Third defendant in Mariposa gold heist pleads no contest

04/29/2013 5:39 PM

04/29/2013 5:56 PM

One of five men accused of participating in last year's $1.3 million robbery at the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa pleaded no contest Monday to 10 counts, including auto theft and robbery.

The plea agreement by Edward Rushing means he faces a sentence of 15 years in prison, and will be eligible for parole after serving about 85 percent of his sentence.

Rushing is the third person in the case to reach a plea agreement with Mariposa County prosecutors. Michael Anthony Gomes and Matthew Campbell reached plea deals last week. Gomes and Campbell both agreed to testify in the case, as conditions of their plea agreements.

The theft happened Sept. 28 when the robbers, dressed in black and wearing hoods, entered the museum's vault about 4 p.m. after threatening a guide and curator with pickaxes.

During the two-minute heist, the robbers stole an estimated $1.3 million in gold and gems after smashing display cases.

The museum, which is operated by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, is home to more than 13,000 artifacts dating to the 1800s

More details will be posted later today.

-- Sun-Star staff

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