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Jury finds Chula Vista road rage suspect guilty of second-degree murder

horace williams chula vista road rage.jpeg
Posted at 3:00 PM, Oct 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-18 19:48:26-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The man accused of fatally stabbing a motorist seven times in the South Bay during a road rage dispute was convicted of second-degree murder Friday.

Jurors found Rickey Vernon Smith, 60, guilty after only one day of deliberations in the Nov. 27, 2018, slaying of 36-year-old Horace Williams Jr.

Smith is set to be sentenced on Dec. 11.

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The road rage confrontation between Smith and Williams came to a head near Chula Vista Golf Course, after the two argued along several roadways last November. Williams reportedly threw a soda cup at Smith's vehicle before Smith struck Williams' minivan.

Prosecutors say Smith then got out of his truck after cutting Williams off, walked over to his driver's side window, punched Williams in the face and walked away, until walking back and stabbing Williams several times with a knife.

Witnesses said Williams got out of his van and collapsed in the roadway, bleeding heavily. The father of five was pronounced dead at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego.

RELATED: Father of five killed in Chula Vista road rage stabbing

Smith's attorney argued Williams was the aggressor in the case. During a 911 call after the stabbing, Smith told a dispatcher Williams had cut him off and threw a drink at his truck. He added that he followed Williams and later punched and stabbed him out of self-defense after Williams punched him.

Smith claimed Williams had lunged at something near the center console of his van and Smith produced his knife "as a last resort," defense attorney Brian Watkins said in court.

Prosecutors argued against those claims, citing physical evidence that Smith had forcefully stabbed Williams and was not harmed in the altercation.

City News Service contributed to this report.