A former substitute teacher who attacked a nationally recognized photographer last year with a baseball bat, leaving him in a coma for weeks, was sentenced Tuesday to a life term plus 13 years in prison.
Shai Alkebulan, 40, made a rambling 40-minute address professing innocence to the court before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Cesar Sarmiento imposed the maximum punishment for last June's brutal beating of photographer Bill Jones, a district attorney spokeswoman said.
Jones, whose work appeared regularly in Ebony and Jet magazines, was in a coma for nearly a month after his neighbor attacked him June 7, 1997, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Stone. Although the two men lived near each other, they reportedly did not know each other.
The 62-year-old victim was outside his home in Hyde Park, washing his car, when Alkebulan struck him repeatedly in the head.
Stone said Alkebulan was motivated by intense jealousy of Jones, who also was a teacher.
By the time Alkebulan was brought to trial, Jones had recovered enough to testify. But he did not attend Tuesday's sentencing hearing.