SAN DIEGO — Edward Hilbert, 56, was given two years probation for involuntary manslaughter in the death of an MTS bus passenger after making an earlier plea deal.
Hilbert killed 28-year-old Anthony McGaff on a bus in the East Village on the night of April 30 last year.
Prosecutors say it started after McGaff sat next to a woman on the bus, then got into an argument with her, slapping her phone away when she started recording video of him.
Several other passengers intervened, including Hilbert who restrained McGaff, putting him in a chokehold for nearly eight minutes before he passed out.
McGaff’s parents gave emotional impact statements during sentencing.
“Your actions on MTS bus 235 changed my family’s life forever. You decided to intervene in something that had nothing to do with you. As a result, my son Anthony is dead,” said James Smith, the victim’s father.
After the bus pulled over, police and medics arrived and found McGaff unconscious on the floor of the bus.
He later died at the hospital.
“You ambushed my son, you had him in a chokehold on the ground with your bodyweight on top of him for eight long minutes. I simply was unable to watch the entire video, I could not bear watching my son Anthony slowly die,” Smith said.
McGaff’s parents say they’re moving forward with a lawsuit against MTS, claiming the bus driver did nothing to stop the confrontation and waited too long to pull over while their son was being choked.
“I’m still desperately struggling to find new purpose, new hope and new reasons to keep putting one foot in front of the other,” said Angela McGaff, the victim’s mother.