By NEAL PUTNAM | Downtown & Uptown News
Four consecutive terms of life in prison were handed down Tuesday to Jon David Guerrero who killed three homeless men in Ocean Beach, Mission Bay, and Downtown plus a woman in North Park.
The sentencing of Guerrero, now 43, ends the nearly five-year case involved attacks upon mostly homeless people that occurred in 2016.
“You took a piece of my heart that I’ll never get back,” said Linda Gramlick, the mother of Shawn Longley, to Guerrero, whom she referred to as “a monster.”
Gramlick spoke via a computer feed from her Florida home, and appeared on a video screen before San Diego Superior Court Judge Kennth So.
Longley, 41, was found dead July 4, 2016, near the Robb Athletic Field tennis courts in Ocean Beach. He was attacked while asleep by Guerrero who hammered a railroad spike into his head.
So gave Guerrero credits of serving 1,642 days in jail, although that is moot since he can’t be paroled. He was fined $11,204, and ordered to pay $3,761 in restitution.
Guerrero’s first case occurred in 2009 when he shoved a homeless woman and took her bicycle, records show. He pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to 1,168 days in jail that includes time at a mental hospital.
So ordered the life terms to run without the possibility of parole. He also imposed an additional sentence of 143 years.
Guerrero pleaded guilty in Jan., 2020, to four counts of first-degree murder as well as two arson counts in which victims had been set on fire. He pleaded guilty to eight counts of attempted murder and assault of other homeless people.
The motive for all of the attacks was hatred of homeless people. Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey told the judge that one surviving victim who asked Guerrero why he assaulted him said Guerrero answered “because you’re a bum.”
The sentencing was delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak. Other delays occurred when Guerrero was found mentally incompetent to stand trial and was sent to a state mental hospital for treatment.
The judge who sentenced him later found him to be mentally competent.
Angelo DeNardo, 53, was sleeping under a bridge near Mission Bay on July 3, 2016, when a railroad spike was driven into his head and his body was set on fire.
DeNardo attended the Metropolitian Community Church which held a funeral for him and the others.
“After many years, justice is being served on behalf of Angelo and the other innocent people who were brutally murdered,” said Rev. Dan Koeshall, the senior pastor at MCC, on Tuesday.
“This is a painful reminder of how dangerous life can be on the streets,” said Koeshall. “May we continue to support social services and continue aid to this vulnerable population.”
“Everyone is of precious value in God’s eyes,” concluded Koeshall in a statement.
The third victim, Dionicio “Derek” Vahidy, 23, died four days after he was mortally wounded downtown. His cousin, Renzo Lara, told Guerrero “You…took our beloved Derek from this world.”
“Only cowards like you have the audicity of attacking…while (victims) are sleeping,” said Lara.
Guerrero is also charged with killing Molly Simons, 83, in North Park, on July 13, 2016.
The slaying of Molly Simons, 83, in North Park broke the pattern on July 13, 2016 when she was struck with an object around 5 a.m. while walking to a bus stop. She was on her way to a local YMCA where she volunteered and she died of a skull fracture.
The victims also included Manuel Mason, a 61-year-old man who survived the attack, but was left blinded in the Midway District area near Greenwood Street. Mason died in July, 2019.
Guerrero literally was walking around with the bloodstains of many victims whose DNA was found on his shoes and clothing, according to his sentencing report released on Jan. 27.
Many victims’ DNA was found on the sledgehammer and railroad spikes used as weapons.
Guerrero has a history of schizophrenia, but was found mentally competent to stand trial after treatment at a state mental hospital.
“I should have been on my medication,” said Guerrero to authorities. “I should have been more responsible knowing the gravity of my illness.”
“Mr. Guerrero is severely mentally ill,” said his attorney, Dan Tandon, who added that his client “has been held accountable.”
Tandon said Guerrero benefited from his time at the mental hospital, saying “He’s remarkable stable today as a result of that treatment.”
Guerrero told officials he believed all those he killed and attacked were spirits and not human. He said he saw “vampire spirits with sharp teeth” who were following him and communicating with him daily.
When a probation officer who wrote the sentencing report asked Guerrero about why he killed Simons, he said this: “I didn’t think she was human either.”
Guerrero’s guilty pleas brought “some measure of closure” and a sense of justice to some, said Harvey.
Simon’s son, Greg Asumbra, told officials he was satisfied with the sentence and was opposed to the death penalty for him. Asumbra said he wished Guerrero
had received help before his killing spree. He said his mother would have wanted him to receive help also.
— Neal Putnam is a local court reporter.