CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The driver accused of stabbing another driver to death in a road rage incident was found guilty of second-degree murder Friday.
The jury convicted 60-year-old Rickey Vernon Smith of fatally stabbing Horace Williams, Jr., 36, in November 2018.
Investigators said a feud on the road led to a collision between the two men. After the crash, Smith was accused of getting out of his truck and stabbing Williams, who was still seated in his minivan. Williams later died at the hospital from his injuries.
Though the jury found Smith guilty of second-degree murder, they found him not guilty of first-degree murder.
“Maybe they found that there was no premeditation or a period of deliberation,” Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey said. “They may not have necessarily thought that there was that express intent to kill, that there was some lesser intent to do harm.”
Williams left behind a fiance, who was present at the verdict reading, and five children.
“We just wanted to make sure that he got his justice and that we can all have that peace of mind; that we can move forward,” said Williams’ fiance, Sasha Martinez.
Martinez said the trial has been tough for the family members, all of whom are still mourning the loss of their loved one — especially Williams’ children. “I take it one day at a time with them and try to honor him by doing things with them that he would still do,” Martinez said.
Smith faces 16 years to life behind bars. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 11.