Would-be space traveler pleads guilty to residential burglary

Courtesy of SFPDSantino Aviles

His defense may have been out of this world, but the man who thought he'd hitch a ride to the stars via a Mission district apartment building has come down to Earth and pleaded guilty to a residential burglary charge on Tuesday, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Santino Aviles, 41, was acquitted in April of several other charges related to his meth-induced trip in the Mission in May of last year where he broke into an apartment building that he believed was a docking bay to a spaceship that would take him away from Earth. He believed at the time that Earth's destruction was imminent.

On April 7, Aviles was found not guilty on robbery, attempted robbery, assault with force likely to cause great injury and battery with serious injury charges. He was convicted on two misdemeanor charges for battery and assault. A mistrial was declared in connection with a residential burglary charge.

After the mistrial, the District Attorney's Office continued to pursue the residential burglary charge and on Tuesday morning, Aviles pleaded guilty to that charge and will be sentenced to two years in prison, Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said.

Aviles' trip began on May 31, 2014, when he started experiencing hallucinations associated with methamphetamine psychosis, according to the Public Defender's Office. He reportedly thought he was being pursued by an unknown enemy and that Earth's destruction was imminent.

He got himself buzzed into an apartment building that he thought looked like a spaceship docking station and immediately headed to the roof.

He then gained access to an apartment from the fire escape and passed out on a couch inside.

When he awoke, he prepared for his journey using the resident's backpack, where he stowed a space “passport” and an earthquake kit.

He also put an exercise ball out on the fire escape thinking he could use that to float through the galaxy.

When the residents of the apartment woke up and found Aviles in their apartment, a scuffle ensued and he was tackled, punched and hit with a baseball bat.

Aviles will return to court for sentencing on May 15, Bastian said.

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