SAN DIEGO — A man who “sucker-punched” another man during an early morning altercation in the Gaslamp District, resulting in the victim’s death, was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in state prison.
Mahad Ahmed, 24, was convicted in May of second-degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Michael Louis Beaver.
The victim’s father, Phil Beaver, told the judge that his son worked a security detail at a Gaslamp bar and had always been able to take care of himself.
“It took a sucker punch from a punk like that to kill him,” he said, looking toward the defendant.
Pamela Beaver said the loss of her youngest son has been a “living hell.”
“I have never awakened from that nightmare,” she said. “I can’t even close my eyes to pray.”
Parks Pemberton said his nephew’s murder was “like a knife in my family’s heart,” and Hillary Beaver said she admired her brother-in-law’s “love of life and people.”
In sentencing the defendant to the maximum allowable term, Judge Robert F. O’Neill noted that Ahmed had a “significant” criminal record, including multiple arrests and convictions for fighting and violence dating back to 2005.
Deputy District Attorney Melissa Vasel said the victim, his brother and a male friend were wrapping up a night of drinking and partying about 1 a.m. last June 15 when they encountered the defendant’s group — which included four men and one woman — outside the Encore club on F Street.
Beaver’s brother fell ill and started throwing up, causing the woman in Ahmed’s group to say, “That’s (expletive) nasty!”, according to the prosecutor.
When Beaver reacted to her comment, the woman slapped him, and then a man in the defendant’s group hit Beaver in the mouth, according to the prosecutor.
After Beaver and the man who hit him squared off, Ahmed decided “to launch his fist into the victim’s skull,” knocking Beaver back and causing him to hit his head on a metal railing, Vasel told the jury.
A witness at a nearby bachelorette party told police she saw the defendant run up and “blindside” the victim, who died at a hospital about an hour later.
Ahmed was arrested later that morning following a disturbance at a City Heights hookah lounge.
Defense attorney Kathleen Lee said Beaver was intoxicated and kept coming forward after being punched in the mouth by a man in the defendant’s group. She said Ahmed then stepped forward, punched the victim, and the entire group walked off in an altercation that lasted all of six seconds.
Lee said Beaver died from a “unique injury” and that his death was “unintentional.”