One of two men who participated in a fatal stabbing of a homeless man in Hillcrest has been sentenced to 11 years in state prison.
Willie Gray, 67, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter while his co-defendant Darcell Marquise Moore, 42, was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder in the slaying of Shawn Timothy Puzzo, 60, in 2020.
Moore, who is expected to receive a sentence of 25 years to life in prison, had his sentence delayed Feb. 23 to June 21. Moore remains in jail without bail.
Moore was acquainted with Puzzo, who was stabbed 10 times and robbed of gift cards while he was sleeping in front of a bicycle shop on Washington Ave. near Front Street on April 15, 2020.
Gray contended his only involvement was to be present and that he picked up the knife after Moore dropped it and gave it back to him. Gray denied stabbing Puzzo, but he also pleaded guilty to robbing him.
“They both should spend the rest of their lives behind bars for what they have done,” said Michael Puzzo, the victim’s brother, in a letter to the court.
“Nobody deserves to die like he did. It is really quite upsetting,” wrote Michael Puzzo. “This did not have to happen.”
Deputy District Attorney Philippa Cunningham said the victim’s DNA was found underneath the fingernails of both Moore and Gray.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Michael Groch ordered Gray to pay $1,570 to the owner of the Urban Index business on Fourth Avenue which Gray burglarized on April 15, 2020.
Security cameras captured Gray throwing a rock through the window of the business and carrying out numerous backpacks in a large trash bag by himself, according to his probation report.
Gray was charged with looting during a state of emergency because this was after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. Gray has a long criminal record, having served time in prison before for multiple burglaries in Louisiana and Texas as well as parole revocations, according to the probation report.
Gray received credits of 1,269 days spent in jail and was fined $2,181.