A man who fatally stabbed another man during an altercation outside a Pacific Beach convenience store nearly three years ago was convicted Wednesday of voluntary manslaughter.
Desmond Alejandro Williams, 35, was found guilty by a San Diego jury for 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.
Williams initially faced a murder charge in the case. He’s slated for sentencing on May 25 for the manslaughter count, as well as an allegation of using a knife.
Surveillance footage played for jurors 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 him multiple times, with the fatal stab puncturing the victim’s heart and one of his lungs.
He then took off on a skateboard and was not arrested until November 2019 in National City.
Defense attorney Giovanni Macias said 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 toward Williams, who is Black.
Macias said Snellman sucker-punched Williams in the head, and said Williams 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.
City News Service contributed to this article.