Jeffrey Quirino
Jeffrey Quirino. Courtesy Dignity Memorial

A man who fatally stabbed a 17-year-old boy in Spring Valley more than seven years ago was sentenced Tuesday to 31 years and eight months to life in state prison.

Christian Gomez Lopez, 31, was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder for the May 23, 2016, stabbing of Jeffrey Quirino.

Prosecutors said Lopez issued a gang-related challenge to Quirino outside an apartment complex on Delrose Avenue.

When Quirino approached Lopez, the defendant stabbed him in the neck, prosecutors said.

The wounded teen was discovered by a passing motorist, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, which said Quirino six days later died at a hospital. Lopez was arrested in September 2019.

At his sentencing hearing, Lopez said he “reacted” because he believed he was going to be “jumped” by the victim, who he thought was pulling out a knife. He also said his behavior that day was affected by alcohol.

“I really apologize for that,” Lopez told the victim’s family. “I hope you guys can forgive me. I know that’s hard. … It was my fault and I’m sorry.”

Lopez’s sentence included additional time for a prior assault conviction, another case in which he assaulted a fellow inmate in county jail, and a theft case in which he stole jewelry from two stores in San Diego.

City News Service contributed to this article.