Surveillance camera image of suspect
Surveillance camera image of the suspect in the Mission Beach stabbing. Courtesy SDPD

Jurors began deliberating Monday in the trial of a man charged with murder for allegedly stabbing another man during an altercation outside a Pacific Beach convenience store nearly three years ago.

Desmond Alejandro Williams, 35, is accused in the June 22, 2019, death of 40-year-old Sean Paul Snellman, who was stabbed multiple times outside the 7-Eleven at 4340 Mission Blvd. Medics took the victim to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Surveillance footage played for a San Diego jury showed Snellman punch Williams before the stabbing occurred.

Deputy District Attorney Frederick Washington Jr. said Snellman was unarmed during the melee and that Williams was aware the victim didn’t have a weapon. The prosecutor told jurors Monday that Williams saw Snellman’s hands were empty before producing a knife and stabbing Snellman multiple times, with the fatal stab puncturing the victim’s heart and one of his lungs.

He then allegedly took off on a skateboard and was not arrested until November of 2019 in National City.

Defense attorney Giovanni Macias alleged his client lawfully defended himself against an attacker who had been aggressive with others at the store prior to the stabbing and at some point directed a racial slur towards Williams, who is Black.

Macias said Snellman sucker-punched Williams in the head, who initially held his arms up to shield himself from multiple blows. The attorney said Snellman also held onto Williams during the attack, prompting Williams to defend himself against a much larger assailant who “didn’t stop (punching) until he physically couldn’t swing anymore” due to the stab wounds.

Williams faces 26 years to life in prison if convicted of the murder charge and a knife use allegation.

City News Service contributed to this article.