A man who stabbed another man in National City, then ran the victim over with a car was sentenced today to 42 years to life in state prison.
Thornell Brown, 58, was convicted by a Chula Vista jury of second- degree murder for the June 4, 2022, killing of 52-year-old Frank Gallegos.
Prosecutors say that just before 1 p.m., Brown stabbed the victim twice, then ran over Gallegos in the parking lot of a business on East 8th Street. Gallegos died of his injuries at a hospital.
Brown testified at trial that he believed Gallegos had stolen some property from his car. He also alleged the victim owed him money and refused to repay, and called Brown a racial slur.
Deputy District Attorney Katherine Johnson said all the property that was found on Gallegos was presented to Brown during the trial, who admitted none of it was his.
About five minutes after the alleged theft, Brown chased Gallegos down and the men tussled. Brown stabbed the victim as he was on the ground, crawling away from the defendant, prosecutors alleged.
Brown’s defense attorney, Sergio Salcedo, argued that during the confrontation with Gallegos, his client “feared for his life.”
Superior Court Judge Maryann D’Addezio imposed 15 years to life for the second-degree murder conviction and Brown received additional time for a conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm and for having a prior serious or violent felony conviction.
D’Addezio said, “It is clear to the court from the evidence that Mr. Brown was the attacker and that Mr. Gallegos in no way provoked the attack.”
Brown was arrested later that day in the vehicle used to run over the victim, which D’Addezio described as “splattered with Mr. Gallegos’ blood.”
Brown was found with the murder weapon, as well as a “ghost gun.”
D’Addezio also noted that the killing was committed in broad daylight and said Brown “ignored the cries and pleas from bystanders to stop” before stabbing Gallegos.