SAN DIEGO - A wanted man who drove off and dragged a deputy U.S. marshal through a Clairemont Mesa intersection after the officer stopped the car and tried to take the keys from the ignition was sentenced Friday to 29 years and four months in state prison.
Matthew Motsenbocker, 32, was convicted last month on 13 counts, including assault with a deadly weapon. Jurors found Motsenbocker guilty of charges related to three pending cases as well as the July 6, 2012, assault on Deputy U.S. Marshal Don Allie, who suffered traumatic head injuries as a result.
Motsenbocker tried to delay Friday's sentencing by saying that he wanted to fire his attorney. But the judge rejected his request.
Allie spoke at the sentencing and talked about his daily headaches and permanently losing his sense of smell. He also had strong words for Motsenbocker.
""In one of the most cowardly acts I think I've ever seen, he used his girlfriend as bait, in an attempt to lure us off," said Allie. "I find that reprehensible sir."
Prosecutor Robert Eacret called Motsenbocker a "one-man crime spree" who needed to be held accountable for his "getaway at all costs" mentality.
Eacret said U.S. marshals were looking for Motsenbocker after he failed to appear in court for stealing shirts from a department store and trying to pass a phony check.
Marshals pulled over a white Volvo driven by the defendant's girlfriend as she exited Interstate 805 at Balboa Avenue.
Eacret said the woman exited the vehicle with the car still running, but when Allie reached in to take the keys out of the ignition, Motsenbocker slid over from the passenger seat and hit the accelerator.
With his body half in the vehicle as he was being dragged, Allie, "in fear for his life," fired his weapon, hitting the defendant in the chest, Eacret said.
Allie was thrown from the Volvo and was seriously injured.
Motsenbocker's attorney, Raymundo Pacello Jr., told the jury that Allie never identified himself as a peace officer and stuck a gun under the defendant's armpit.
"Matthew Motsenbocker was in fear for his life," Pacello told the jury. "He (Allie) said, `I'm going to kill you, (expletive). Matt thought he was going to die."'
Friday in court, Pacello said Motsenbocker was not a violent person but was under the influence of methamphetamine when Allie was injured.
"Everybody knows that he (Motsenbocker) has a problem with drugs," Pacello told Judge Jeffrey Fraser.
Motsenbocker apologized to Allie before sentencing.
"I'm sorry you got hurt," Motsenbocker said. "I'm not a violent guy."
But Fraser called Motsenbocker a "career criminal" who is a danger to society and needs to be incarcerated to protect the public.
"The evidence of your guilt is overwhelming," the judge said.