A 26-year-old man, who was acquitted of a murder in Anaheim in 2018, pleaded guilty and was immediately sentenced to 14 years in prison Tuesday for a deadly stabbing in Costa Mesa.

Jasper Bear Belknap pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and admitted sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and committing offenses while out on bail.

Belknap pleaded guilty to killing 23-year-old Austin D. Robinson of Costa Mesa on Feb. 12, 2018. That conflict occurred about three months after his acquittal in a dragging death in Anaheim.

As part of the plea bargain struck Tuesday with prosecutors, Belknap also resolved pending cases against him of burglary, identity theft and possession of drugs, his attorney, Rob Harley, said.

Belknap was given credit for 1,905 days in custody, Harley said.

“We had a really good self-defense case,” Harley told City News Service.

However, Belknap did not want to gamble on a murder trial because he would have faced a 28 years to life sentence if convicted, Harley said.

Robinson was dealing drugs in Costa Mesa when he grew angry and accused a group of people with Belknap of having stolen money from him, Harley said.

Belknap went back to Robinson to buy more drugs, “And he turned around and that’s when the knife came out and he accused (Belknap) of being part of the group that stole money from him,” Harley said.

Belknap turned the knife back at the victim and it went into Robinson’s chest, puncturing his lung, Harley said.

When Belknap ran away the victim was still standing, but he later collapsed, Harley said.

Robinson called 911 after he was stabbed and Costa Mesa police responded at 2:41 a.m. to the 2900 block of Grace Lane, according to prosecutors. The victim was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead hours later.

Belknap was acquitted on Nov. 7, 2017, of the dragging death of 45-year-old Felipe Viera Lugo. Co-defendant Diana Carolina Lopez pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the June 16, 2015, botched robbery death and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.