Man sentenced to seven years in prison for fatal stabbing outside Pacific Beach store

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Desmond Alejandro William was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 2019 death of Sean Paul Snellman, 40


A 36-year-old man who fatally stabbed another man during a 2019 altercation outside a Pacific Beach convenience store was sentenced Thursday to seven years in state prison.

Desmond Alejandro Williams was convicted of voluntary manslaughter last year by a San Diego Superior Court jury for the June 22, 2019, death of Sean Paul Snellman, 40. Snellman was stabbed multiple times outside the 7-Eleven at the corner of Mission Boulevard and Grand Avenue.

Medics took Snellman to a hospital, where he died.

Surveillance footage played for jurors showed Snellman punching Williams before the stabbing.

Deputy District Attorney Frederick Washington Jr. said Snellman was unarmed during the melee and Williams was aware the victim didn’t have a weapon.

The prosecutor told jurors that Williams saw Snellman’s hands were empty before producing a knife and stabbing him multiple timesThe fatal thrust punctured the victim’s heart and one of his lungs.

Williams took off on a skateboard. He was arrested five months later, in November 2019, in National City.

Defense attorney Giovanni Macias said his client lawfully defended himself against an attacker who had been aggressive with others at the store before the stabbing, and at some point had directed a racial slur toward Williams, who is Black.

Macias said Snellman sucker-punched Williams in the head, and said Williams initially held his arms up to shield himself from multiple blows.

The defense attorney said Snellman also held onto Williams during the attack, prompting Williams to defend himself against a much larger assailant who “didn’t stop (punching) until he physically couldn’t swing anymore” due to the stab wounds.

Williams initially faced a murder charge in the case.

In an unrelated case, Williams was convicted of torture and mayhem and was previously sentenced to seven years to life in state prison. That sentence will be served consecutively with the seven-year term he received Thursday for the fatal Pacific Beach stabbing.

Specific details regarding that case were not available, but a criminal complaint states it occurred in 2010 against a male victim.