Homeless man who killed friend in North Park sent to prison

SAN DIEGO — A transient who fatally stabbed a friend near the victim’s North Park apartment on Memorial Day last year was sentenced Friday to 14 years in state prison.

Brandon Kyle Cooper, 38, was convicted in August of voluntary manslaughter in the May 29, 2017, death of 38-year-old Spencer Thompson.

The dying victim told police it was Cooper who stabbed him in the abdomen in the 2800 block of University Avenue about 9:30 p.m.

After his arrest the following day, Cooper denied killing Thompson and told detectives the victim was fine the last time he saw him on University Avenue.

Surveillance video showsCooper and Thompson together in North Park and later shows Cooper walking away by himself.

One of two knives found on Cooper had the victim’s DNA on it, a witness testified.

Thompson told a police officer that he and Cooper were “hanging out, drinking” that night before he was stabbed.

Thompson had surgery at a hospital to close a stab wound, but he died later from cardiac arrest, according to Deputy Medical Examiner Othon Mena.

Cooper had been homeless, and Thompson let Cooper stay at his apartment, authorities said.

The defendant told police that he became angry with Thompson and decided to go sleep in a park.

Cooper said Thompson was “hitting on him,” trying to evoke some reaction, but said the two were just friends.

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