A man who beat a senior citizen on a city bus and fatally stabbed his own father a day later in the victim’s City Heights apartment was sentenced Friday to 29 years to life in state prison.
Ismael Beltran, 23, was convicted in November of first-degree murder and elder abuse.
Superior Court Judge David Rubin said the defendant suffered from a mental condition — schizophrenia — at the time of his father’s murder, but it did not legally rise to the level of insanity.
Beltran also seemed to be without remorse for the crime, the judge said.
George Myrick, then 72, testified that he was riding the bus near Park Boulevard on Oct. 10, 2016 — on his way to work out — when Beltran charged him and hit him in the mouth.
Myrick said the suspect — whom he had never seen before — got off the bus, did a little dance, then got back on and hit him again, repeating that sequence five times.
San Diego police Detective Michael Shervondy testified that security video footage showed the defendant — with something in his hand, like a pen — hitting the victim 17 times.
The detective said a still shot taken from the video footage on the bus led him to a business where the defendant had worked. Employees there said Beltran had been doing fine until just before the murder, when he started acting strangely, Shervondy testified.
Beltran was fired when he refused to take a drug test, according to the detective.
The next day, neighbors at an apartment complex in the 3600 block of 42nd Street heard what sounded like fighting and Francisco Beltran yelling “No son, no!” in Spanish, and saw a man who appeared to be the victim’s son leaving the apartment and running away. The 43-year-old victim was later found bleeding to death from 26 stab wounds.
Ismael Beltran testified that his father had ordered him to pack up his things and move out and felt belittled by him.
“He (the defendant) completely exploded,” Deputy District Attorney Meredith Pro told the jury, calling the defendant a “ticking time bomb.”
Defense attorney Jane Kinsey said her client acted in a psychotic state when he killed his alcoholic father and urged jurors to find her client guilty of manslaughter.
Kinsey said the defendant showed signs of mental illness and paranoia in 2014 and began acting strangely again days before he killed his father.
A psychiatrist hired by the defense diagnosed Ismael Beltran with chronic schizophrenia, Kinsey said.
—City News Service