SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A man who pleaded guilty in a fatal hit-and-run in Paradise Hills in January was sentenced Thursday.
James Arthur Robbins, 48, was given the maximum sentence of 10 years in a state prison for the death of 49-year-old Jose Padron.
Police said Robbins fatally struck Padron on January 19, as Padron was retrieving an umbrella from his car in the 5900 block of Albemarle Street.
No one apparently witnessed the crash, but Robbins' girlfriend came home to her nearby residence and noticed damage to her car after letting the defendant use it, the prosecutor said.
The girlfriend called the police, but Robbins took off and was on the run for about a month before being arrested.
"I find you a coward, and you will always be a coward," Padron's sister, Judith Tang, told the defendant. Tang criticized Robbins for fleeing the scene, leaving it up to a family member to find Padron's lifeless body in the street.
Another of the victim's sisters, Maria Padron, said her brother's son misses his father so much that he cries himself to sleep every night.
"It's not fair," the sister said to the defendant. "You murdered my brother. You're a heartless, cold-blooded killer."
The victim's widow, Sacramento Padron, said she hasn't been able to tell their son what really happened to his father. She said it is difficult to be suddenly left alone with a boy to raise.
"Why didn't you ask for help?" she asked the defendant. "The why ... I need to know that."
Deputy District Attorney David McNees said Robbins has a criminal record dating back to 1982, including two robbery convictions.
Based on text messages retrieved by authorities, Robbins may have been on cocaine when he hit Padron, but that allegation was impossible to prove since the defendant fled the scene after hitting the victim, McNees said.
Superior Court Judge Polly Shamoon sentenced Robbins to the maximum term under a plea deal.
"You saw a human being on the hood of your car (and) your first instinct was to leave," the judge said.