The father who took his young children from South San Francisco and sailed away on a stolen yacht in September faces more than four years after pleading no contest Friday to three felonies.
Christopher Maffei, 43, accepted the negotiated deal on two counts of felony custody deprivation and one felony count of possessing a stolen vessel in return for up to four years and four months to be served in the county jail. Judge Jonathan Karesh agreed to consider at a June 7 sentencing hearing to split the ultimate term between incarceration and out-of-custody supervision.
The settlement is good, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Maffei also felt the offer was a very fair deal and was ready to take responsibility for his conduct, said defense attorney Jeff Boyarsky.
“He wants to apologize to the community for what he did. He knows there are consequences for his action,” Maffei said.
Maffei was originally charged with first-degree burglary, kidnapping, taking a child from a lawful custodian, child endangerment and possessing a stolen motor vehicle.
On Sept. 4, 2012, Maffei allegedly took his 3-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son from their mother’s South San Francisco home and sailed away on a yacht he’d stolen from an Alameda marina. Authorities located the 41-foot boat, which had run out of fuel and, after hours of monitoring, the Coast Guard escorted the vessel into Santa Cruz Harbor.
The children were unharmed and Maffei was taken into custody.
As Maffei took the children, his ex-girlfriend, who is the children’s mother, was at the San Mateo County Superior Court filing a restraining order request against him.
Maffei said in early court appearances that he took the children to prevent them from abuse.
Boyarsky confirmed that as his client’s motivation but declined details until the sentencing hearing other than to say Maffei “realized he overreacted and went too far in what he did.”
He remains in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102.