Police officer stands with witnesses
A San Diego Police officer stands with witnesses at the 2019 crime scene in Pacific Beach. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A man who fatally stabbed another man during a 2019 altercation in Pacific Beach was sentenced Thursday to seven years in state prison.

Desmond Alejandro Williams, 36, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter last year by a San Diego jury for the June 22, 2019, death of Sean Paul Snellman, 40.

In the attack, Snellman was stabbed multiple times outside the 7-Eleven at 4340 Mission Blvd. Medics took him to a hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.

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 that Williams saw Snellman’s hands were empty before producing a knife and stabbing him several times, with fatal wound puncturing the victim’s heart and one of his lungs.

Williams 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 many 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 initially faced a murder charge in the case.

He also also convicted of torture and mayhem in an unrelated case and previously sentenced to seven years to life in state prison, which will be served consecutively with the seven-year term he received Thursday.

A criminal complaint against Williams noted the other case, which occurred in 2010 and targeted a male victim.

– City News Service