A man who stabbed a friend to death in the friend’s Oceanside garage while a babysitter watched the victim’s children inside the home was sentenced Thursday to 16 years to life in state prison.
Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza said that shortly after Garner and Strouth went into the garage about 9:30 p.m., the babysitter heard a crashing sound.
Strouth re-entered the home and told the babysitter that he had just “slayed the beast,” according to the prosecutor.
Espinoza said the babysitter ran to the home of neighbors, who went back to Garner’s residence to subdue Strouth and get the victim’s two children to safety.
Garner was stabbed four times, including a fatal stab wound to the upper chest, according to Espinoza, who said the stabbing was unprovoked.
Testimony during the trial showed that Strouth suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression, the prosecutor said. He said that at the time of the murder, Strouth was divorcing his wife and his house was being sold.
Espinoza said Strouth was severely depressed and acting out violently around the time of the murder.
The day of the murder, Strouth gave his gun to a neighbor because he feared he would hurt someone or himself, Espinoza said. Later that day, he killed Garner and attempted suicide, according to the prosecutor.
Police said Strouth had moved into the Garner home on Santa Rosa Street just two weeks earlier with Garner, his ex-girlfriend and their two young children.
–City News Service