SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A transient who fatally stabbed a man and wounded his female friend at a homeless camp in City Heights was sentenced today to 15 years in state prison.
Alberto Lizarraga, 25, pleaded guilty last October to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the Sept. 25, 2017 attack that killed 29-year-old Sonny Gonzales. The victim's friend, Moriah Figueroa, testified during a preliminary hearing last March that she and Gonzales were hanging out at a friend's tent near the 4100 block of Manzanita Drive shortly before 9:30 p.m. when Lizarraga and a girlfriend showed up.
Figueroa said Lizarraga seemed angry about something, then suddenly hit Gonzales in the neck ``really hard.''
The witness said the defendant tried to punch her, but she blocked him with her forearm. A police officer told her she had been cut on her neck. Figueroa said Gonzales pulled Lizarraga off her and fought with the defendant before saying, ``Did you just stab me?''
The witness said Gonzales tried to walk out of the camp and cried out ``I don't want to die!'' The victim, who was stabbed once in the jugular vein, died at a hospital.
``This is one of the most baseless homicides I've ever seen,'' prosecutor David McNees told Judge Kathleen Lewis before sentencing. McNees said Lizarraga and his girlfriend had just arrived at the homeless camp where the victim was sitting and ``attacked him out of the blue.''
Gonzales' mother, Mercedes Lydia Gonzales, told the judge her son was a good person.
``You cannot understand the pain that I feel every day,'' the mother of five sons told the judge.
In a separate incident, Lizarraga pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon for hitting a man with a skateboard four to five days before the fatal attack, McNees said.
Lizarraga was arrested on Sept. 28, 2017 in the 8100 block of Knollwood Road in the Lomita area, according to San Diego police.