A 10-year term in state prison was handed down Aug. 26 for a Gay man who drove his SUV while under the influence of methamphetamine when he collided into a La Mesa office building, coincidentally killing a Gay man.
Braden Jockmyhn, 41, was killed July 28, 2021, while working at the Golden Life ADHC Center, an assisted living center, at 7373 University Avenue. The SUV driven by Daniel Joseph Corona, 62, jumped the sidewalk and plowed into the building through windows and walls.
“What happened to Braden was terrible,” said San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert Amador to the victim’s family, who were watching the proceedings online.
“Our society has lost one of the truly good ones,” said Amador.
The victim’s mother, Marie-Claire Songhurst, wrote the judge in a letter that was read aloud that said her only son was working “at the job he so loved.”
She wrote he was “the type of person who wanted to make a difference” and got a degree in social work. Jockmyhn developed compassion for others, his mother said, and he worked with people suffering from brain injuries, AIDS, and drug addiction.
Corona, wearing jail clothing, told Amador he woke up in a hospital and was unaware of the accident. He was shocked to discover news accounts of the damaged building and the flowers on display for Jockmyhn’s memorial. Corona said a visitor brought him flowers and he asked him to put them at the memorial.
Corona told the judge he wrote a letter to the victim, which said, “May our paths cross in Heaven, so I can apologize to you in person.” He added: “I wish there was something I could do to bring Braden back.”
Corona brought out in open court and in the probation report that both he and the victim were Gay, and he asked the victim’s family and Amador to consider “what would Braden want” in a sentence.
Deputy District Attorney Hailey Williams said it was inappropriate for Corona to mention the name of the victim he killed as to what the victim would want as a sentence. She cited Corona’s past criminal history of selling narcotics and that cocaine was found in his SUV.
“Society must be protected, from his bad behavior,” said Williams, who urged a term of 12 years and 4 months.
Corona’s attorney, Marc Kohnen, urged a 6-year term.
“No amount of saying you’re sorry can bring back a human life,” said Amador to Corona. “You have used methamphetamine for seven years, according to your statement.”
“The reality is you’re a drug addict,” said the judge to Corona, noting his conviction for drug sales.
Amador noted that paramedics administered Narcan to Corona at the scene because he was under the influence of methamphetamine and fentanyl.
Amador cited the increasing pattern of criminal conduct in Corona’s life and drug use that resulting this time in using a vehicle as a deadly weapon.
Corona was hospitalized for broken back bones and was released from the hospital 3 1/2 weeks later without being jailed. Amador noted that Corona immediately got high on methamphetamine again before being arrested.
Corona also has AIDS and told Amador that he used marijuana which helped some of his symptoms.
Amador gave Corona credit for serving 376 days in jail since his arrest. Corona remarked, “It feels like I have been in here for 10 years already.”
Corona pleaded guilty to all charges which included gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence of drugs, possession of methamphetamine and fentanyl for sale, transportation of meth, and selling narcotics.
Corona told a probation officer he never used fentanyl and suspected his roommate could have put it in his food for it to show up in his system.
He was fined $4,250. About a dozen of Corona’s friends whom he described as having “hearts of gold” attended the sentencing.