EL CAJON (CNS) - A parolee who fatally shot an acquaintance in front of the victim's home over a $30 drug debt was sentenced Thursday to 40 years to life in state prison.
Richard James Gunner, 25, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to first-degree murder in the Sept. 24, 2016 death of 21-year-old Brandon DeGuzman and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury for beating a jail inmate in April of last year. Gunner was sentenced to an additional 12 years in prison for that case.
DeGuzman was found lying on the sidewalk at about 6:30 a.m. in the 500 block of Danny Street in an unincorporated area of El Cajon. He was shot in the face. Gunner was arrested a day later.
Before Gunner was sentenced, DeGuzman's mother, Michelle Gary, told the judge that no one can imagine the pain of losing a son.
"I will never see him fall in love and get married," Gary said.
The victim's mother said she wakes up every morning "with a huge realization that my baby's gone. He told me he loved me at least once every day of his life."
Prosecutors said co-defendant Tristan Eric "Cowboy" Klingensmith offered Gunner a commission to collect a drug debt owed to Klingensmith.
Klingensmith pleaded guilty last year to voluntary manslaughter, possession of methamphetamine for sale and two weapons charges and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.