Man gets prison time for restroom stabbing

SAN DIEGO — A man who stabbed a transient inside a public restroom behind the San Diego Convention Center, after the victim told the defendant he was too close and asked him to take a step back, was sentenced Thursday to 13 years in state prison.

Robert Alexander Perez, 36, pleaded guilty last month to attempted murder.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Greco said Perez fled after the May 9 attack, peeling off a layer of clothes as he ran away.

Authorities actually stopped the defendant after the stabbing, but let him go because he didn’t match the description of the suspect.

Greco said Perez threw a pair of pants under a pier, which were recovered by Harbor Police officers. The victim’s blood and the defendant’s DNA was found on those pants, and Perez was eventually tracked down and arrested in August.

Perez told officers that he thought the victim — Craig Allen Pellham – – had uttered a racial slur against him and went back in the restroom to “teach him a lesson.”

Pellham — a man in his late 30s — was stabbed multiple times in his mid-section, exposing his intestines, the prosecutor said.

With the help of good Samaritans, Pellham — a transplant from the Midwest — was able to stagger out of the restroom and was taken to the hospital with very serious injuries, Greco said. The victim spent several weeks in recovery.