Manuel Balderas, the third and final defendant in the August 2018 home invasion and attack of an elderly woman at her home in Kelley, has pleaded guilty and will face 55 years years in prison.


Balderas pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree burglary, second-degree robbery, second-degree burglary and willful injury. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 6.


Balderas, 20, was one of three defendants charged in the case. He had reached earlier plea agreements with prosecutors only to back out of them.


A second defendant, Jacob Jimenez, 19, pleaded guilty earlier this year and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 23. The third, Luis Cruz, 17, pleaded guilty in September and was scheduled for sentencing in January, but online court records indicate that sentencing has been canceled and a non-jury trial is now scheduled for Jan. 9. Details of the reasons for that change were not immediately available Saturday morning.


The three were charged this past summer in connection with the Aug. 23, 2018, home invasion, a crime Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald described as “heinous.”


They were accused of assaulting an 82-year-old woman, spraying her in the face with a chemical substance, and taking more than $1,000 in property from her home. Authorities said they later broke into a second house, taking property valued at more than $1,500 and a 1998 Cadillac De Ville, which was found the following day.


In a statement tweeted out Friday night, Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds said Balderas’ plea, “assured the safety of our community while not further traumatizing the victim at trial.”