A Garden Grove resident was convicted Friday of the unprovoked stabbing murder of a 19-year-old man who was riding his bike to visit friends when he was attacked nearly four years ago.
Jurors, after a day of deliberations, found 23-year-old Troy David Son guilty of first-degree murder and found true a sentencing enhancement that he personally used a deadly weapon.
Son, who is scheduled to be sentenced April 26 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, faces up to 26 years to life in prison.
Son fatally stabbed Bryan Ortega of Garden Grove the night of May 19, 2015. Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney said Ortega was riding his bike to see some friends about 9 p.m. when he was attacked at Avalon Avenue and Fairview Street.
Jurors were shown surveillance video of the attack. Investigators linked Son to the stabbing through a hat found at the crime scene, Birney said.
Son had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicle theft and, as part of the plea deal, he submitted his DNA, which allowed investigators to trace the hat to him, the prosecutor said.
“It was a totally unprovoked, vicious and extremely violent attack on an innocent 19-year-old boy riding his bike to meet a few friends,” Birney said.
At some point during the attack, Ortega, who was “fighting for his life,” pushed his assailant away, but Son retrieved his dropped knife and resumed stabbing the victim, he said.
A motive for the attack was never established, Birney said. The two attended Santiago High School in Garden Grove at the same time, but did not have classes together, Birney said.
Son’s attorney, Dave Dziejowski, argued for a second-degree murder conviction.
He told jurors that a defense expert witness, Dr. Rose Marie Pitt, interviewed the defendant for 16 hours in six visits and diagnosed him with a major depressive disorder with psychotic features.
“He acted impulsively without clear thinking,” Dziejowski told jurors in his closing argument. “The day after he was booked, he’s hearing voices.”
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