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Man accused of using hatchet in Lemon Grove home break-in pleads not guilty

Posted at 4:56 PM, Nov 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-28 22:31:42-05

EL CAJON, Calif. - A man accused of using a hatchet to smash his way into a Lemon Grove home pleaded not guilty Monday.

Authorities alleged 20-year-old Tyler Yates smashed a window at a home on Golden Ave. on Nov. 19, before climbing through the shattered glass on his way inside.

In a video arraignment, Yates' attorney pleaded not guilty on his behalf to burglary, theft, shoplifting and vandalism charges.

The incident was captured on the homeowners' home surveillance system, and 10News learned the homeowners and their children were out of town at the time of the break-in.

Shelly McClure, whose son and his family live in the home, told 10News she spotted the thief and called 911.

"… I saw [police] take him out the house, and he was all full of blood," McClure said. "I just put my head down and I prayed."

McClure said the Nov. 19 incident was the second break-in at the house, and even though the family is strong, the kids are now afraid to stay there.

"I'm angry but I'm asking God to take that away from me, but I'm hurt, you've invaded someone space, you invaded their home, that's unfair," she said.

In an exclusive jailhouse interview with 10News reporter Bree Steffen, Yates said, "Man, I'm sorry for the family, I really am."

Yates admitted that he struggles with drugs, and he said he had done meth earlier that day. He said he heard his family screaming for help inside the home and voices in his head told him to rescue them.

"I'm thinking about it. I'm like, 'Do I do it? Do I do it?' and they're like, 'Do it! Do it!'" Yates said. "So I went boom and I smashed it in."

"The voices in my head, I've never heard voices, so this was all, like, new to me; I thought my family, my kids, mom, my son, and my mom and my dad were all in there saying help me, help me," said Yates.

"It sounds way out there, it does, but I wasn't trying to burglarize the house. I was just trying to save my family. I didn't want nothing to do with the house," Yates added.

Yates said he wants to get help and wants the family to know how sorry he is, saying, "My sincere apologies. I feel horrible for that."

He also told 10News that since he's been in jail and off drugs, the voices have stopped.

Yates remains jailed on $150,000 bail.