Newport Man Sentenced to 17 Years in Fatal Stabbing

Times Staff Writer

A 19-year-old Newport Beach man was sentenced to 17 years to life in prison on Friday in the stabbing death last year of a man whose condominium unit he shared.

Brent Vangsness, convicted last December, was sentenced to 15 years to life for second-degree murder and to one year each for using two weapons--a knife and a wood chisel--in the stabbing.

The victim was Scott McNaughton, 29, the son of John McNaughton, chairman of the board of National Education Corp. of Newport Beach. The victim was stabbed 31 times. Vangsness claimed he acted in self defense.

Going to Youth Facility

Superior Court Judge Linda McLaughlin ordered Vangsness sent to the California Youth Authority, and requested that he be kept in a juvenile facility until he is 25 years old, the maximum for juveniles. Thereafter, he could be transferred to the adult corrections system. Vangsness was 18 at the time of the stabbing.

The prosecution claimed Vangsness killed McNaughton because the older man threatened to tell the police that Vangsness had forged four checks and stolen $1,390 from McNaughton's checking account.

Vangsness claimed that McNaughton tried to sexually molest him and threatened to use a knife. Vangsness said he picked up a knife to defend himself, and then used the wood chisel when McNaughton chased him. But Deputy Dist. Atty. Derek Johnson argued that there were no marks on Vangsness to indicate that a struggle with the victim had taken place.

Jurors later said they didn't believe Vangsness, and contended that if he was defending himself, he would have retreated after arming himself.

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