A 20-year-old Oxnard man was ordered Monday to serve 26 years to life in state prison for fatally stabbing a semiprofessional football player during a fight over a woman.
Robert Hosea expressed regret during his sentencing hearing for killing 25-year-old Artis Jackson, who died last year outside his Oxnard apartment complex after being stabbed with a butcher knife during a brawl over a woman both men had dated.
Hosea's attorney urged Ventura County Superior Court Judge Donald Coleman to review the jury's verdict and reduce the crime from first-degree murder to second-degree murder based on evidence that Hosea acted in self-defense during the March 26, 2002, confrontation with Jackson, a heavy-set football player for the Pasadena-based California Bandits.
Deputy Pubic Defender Joe Villasana also pointed out in court papers that his client voluntarily turned himself in to police.
But Coleman refused to reduce the crime or grant Hosea probation.
"The court does recognize the defendant has no prior record," Coleman said, "but the court cannot in good conscience say the interests of justice require a probation grant because the defendant was an active participant in the activities that brought him to court today."
Coleman ordered Hosea to serve 25 years to life in prison for first-degree murder and added a one-year enhancement based on the use of a knife.
According to court testimony, Hosea had been dating Oxnard resident Demetrice Folse when she left him and returned to a live-in situation with Jackson, her former boyfriend and the father of her son.
On the day of the stabbing, Hosea drove to the couple's Vineyard Avenue apartment and waited outside, authorities said. About 8 p.m., as the couple and their son were walking to a nearby store, Hosea confronted Jackson. They struggled and Jackson was stabbed in the neck and back. He died a few hours later at a local hospital.
During a weeklong trial last fall, Villasana argued that Hosea pulled out the knife after being attacked by Jackson and Jackson's brother, who had seen the fight begin from the couple's apartment balcony.
But Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Simon argued that the killing was premeditated because Hosea had confronted Jackson earlier the same day, then retrieved a knife from his sister's house to fight Jackson.
Jurors agreed that Hosea attacked Jackson with an intent to kill.