California

Transient who fatally stabbed woman on Walk of Fame gets 12 years

Dustin James Kinnear
Dustin James Kinnear was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison after pleading no contest in the fatal stabbing.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A homeless man convicted of fatally stabbing a woman along the Hollywood Walk of Fame last year was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison.

Dustin James Kinnear stared straight ahead in the downtown Los Angeles courtroom and whispered at one point to his attorney as the victim’s mother told the judge that she felt “hurt, mad, angry and outraged” by Kinnear’s actions.

“My heart is damaged. My baby is gone," Yolonde Tassin said.

Kinnear, 27, pleaded no contest to a charge of voluntary manslaughter last month in the death of Christine Calderon, 23, after jurors sent out a note during deliberations in his trial saying they were deadlocked on a murder charge.

His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Lowynn Young, said outside court Friday that she did not believe the killing amounted to murder.

“This case was very messy -- it wasn’t black and white,” she said.

On the evening of June 18, 2013, Kinnear and a group of men were hanging out near the Hollywood & Highland Center holding a sign that used a four-letter insult and asked for money. Calderon and her friend stopped to snap pictures of the sign, which they thought was funny.

As they started to walk away, Kinnear and the others demanded money and the two groups began to brawl.

During the trial, Tracy Breeding testified that he ran into Kinnear, an acquaintance, at a nearby McDonald’s after the fight.

“He told me, ‘I just stabbed someone,’” Breeding said. “‘Come with me.’”

After the four-day trial, Kinnear -- who had amassed a long rap sheet in L.A. and Tucson before the stabbing -- agreed to the plea.

After his arrest last year, Kinnear’s mother told the Los Angeles Times that he had spent time in several mental health facilities and had a tendency toward violence.

“I always knew I would get a call about him being dead or doing something awful,” said April Pena, who worked then as a police detective in Tucson.

Times staff writer Nicole Santa Cruz contributed to this report. 

For more news from the Los Angeles County criminal courts, follow @marisagerber.