A 36-year-old Garden Grove man with a criminal record was convicted Monday of second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of another man in Anaheim four years ago.
Jurors, who began deliberations Thursday afternoon, also found true a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon against James Robertson Fraser, who is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 10.
Fraser faces at least 16 years to life in prison for the murder of 26-year-old Pedro Francisco Toro on March 11, 2015, in the 1500 block of West Edithia Avenue. Previous convictions could result in a longer sentence.
Toro was with a friend, who had just broken up with Fraser, when the defendant stabbed Toro in the neck, said Deputy District Attorney Elisabeth Hatcher in a trial brief on the case.
The mutual friend, Melissa Austin, had broken up with Fraser two days prior to the stabbing.
Toro met Austin as a handyman and was “very close” to her, but they were not dating, Hatcher said.
Fraser was staying in a notorious drug house after Austin had kicked him out of her home, Hatcher said.
Earlier on the day of the stabbing, she went to see Fraser to drop off some things and see her dog, Hatcher said. Fraser said he wanted to get back together, but Austin said she had to go care for her grandmother and he was upset when she left, Hatcher said.
When Austin returned to Fraser’s residence later she tried calling him, but there was no answer and the stabbing ended up being captured on her phone’s voicemail, Hatcher said.
Fraser approached the car Toro and Austin were in and demanded Toro get out as the defendant challenged the victim to a fight, Hatcher said.
When Toro refused to go with Fraser to the backyard, the defendant knifed him in the neck and ran back in the house, Hatcher said.
A police officer who saw Austin driving erratically and speeding pulled her over and saw Toro covered in blood, Hatcher said. Toro was pronounced dead later at a hospital.
When police returned to Fraser’s residence the driveway was hosed down, Hatcher said. Fraser turned himself in to authorities a day after the stabbing.