SAN DIEGO — The sentencing phase of any trial is always very difficult and Monday was no different as the family of a road rage victim braved a courtroom to talk about a life cut way too short and the impossible void that they are forced to live with.
The words of a grieving mother before a judge as her sons’ killer is about to be sentenced:
“It’s has been 470 days since my son was taken from me. I have not gone a day without seeing his face without thinking of him without feeling the loss of him. It’s like a part of me is gone. I will never hear another ‘I love you mom’ from him. I will never get another hug or kiss from him. I won’t see he’s beautiful smile.”
Byron Lee, 35, was found guilty of second-degree murder for the stabbing death of 34-year-old Yacoub Abdalah on June 26, 2021. Lee was sentenced the maximum allowed — 16 years to life in prison.
The grieving mother continued:
“I feel like my heart is dead. They tell you it will get better with time. No it does not get better. It doesn’t get easier.”
Abdalah was on vacation in San Diego from Midlothian, Illinois — located outside of Chicago. According to Deputy District Attorney Christina Eastman, the two men go into a confrontation on the road, which escalated into a fatal road rage incident. Eastman said Lee followed Abdalah in his car, got out and stabbed him multiple times.
Abdalah did not realize he was mortally stabbed and tried to drive away. He then passed out, crashing a few blocks away on 1st Street downtown. He later died at a hospital.
Lee fled the scene. He was arrested two months later in Ontario in San Bernardino County. He had this to say in court:
“I am completely sorry. I also want them to know I did not intend to take his life. I certainly did not want to do that. It was not my intention and I’m absolutely sorry.”
These were seemingly empty words for this grieving family. Abdalah’s sister had this say:
“No one has the right to take someone’s life! That man took Yacoub from me, from my children, from my parents and family just because the person who killed Yacoub chose anger and turned around and followed him giving our family a pain that has grown each day.”