Encinitas

The grand-nephew of flower industry pioneer Paul Ecke has pleaded no contest to a charge of felony false imprisonment in a bizarre incident in which the 93-year-old Ecke was left handcuffed to a chair in his Encinitas home.

Barry Jackson Lewis, 45, a resident of Encinitas, entered the plea Monday before Vista Municipal Judge Michael Burley. Sentencing was set for March 21.

Superior Court Judge Tony Maino has agreed to order a 90-day psychological study of Lewis before sentencing. The Ecke family, which operates a 910-acre poinsettia ranch in coastal North County, has asked that such a study be conducted.

Lewis, who has worked as a gardener, was arrested Feb. 2 after family members reported that he crashed his car through the gate at Ecke's home and handcuffed him to a chair. Ecke suffered bruises; Lewis was still in the house when arrested.

The maximum penalty for false imprisonment is four years in state prison. Lewis has been in County Jail in Vista since his arrest.

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