SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 23-year-old man who beat a senior citizen on a city bus and fatally stabbed his own father a day later in the victim's City Heights apartment was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder and elder abuse causing great bodily injury.
Ismael Beltran faces 27 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced Dec. 8.
George Myrick, then 72, testified that he was riding the bus near Park Boulevard on Oct. 10, 2016 -- on his way to work out -- when Beltran charged him and hit him in the mouth.
"I said, `What the hell's wrong with you?"' the witness testified.
Myrick said the suspect -- whom he had never seen before -- got off the bus, did a little dance, then got back on and hit him again, repeating that sequence five times.
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He said his attacker called him a "pervert" at one point, but otherwise said nothing.
San Diego police Detective Michael Shervondy testified that the defendant was caught on video -- he had something in his hand, like a pen -- hitting the victim 17 times.
The detective said a still shot taken from the video footage on the bus led him to a business where the defendant had worked.
Employees there said Beltran had been doing fine until just before the murder, when he started acting strangely, Shervondy testified.
The employees said Beltran was fired when he refused to take a drug test, according to the detective.
The next day, neighbors at an apartment complex in the 3600 block of 42nd Street heard what sounded like fighting and Francisco Beltran yelling "No son, no!" in Spanish, and saw a man who appeared to be the victim's son leaving the apartment and running away. The 43-year-old victim was later found bleeding to death from 26 stab wounds.
Ismael Beltran testified that his father had ordered him to pack up his things and move out and felt belittled by him.
"He (the defendant) completely exploded," Deputy District Attorney Meredith Claterbos told the jury, calling the defendant a "ticking time bomb."
Investigators found a bloody knife -- believed to be the murder weapon -- on top of a refrigerator in the apartment, and a bloody shoe print was located on the dining room floor.
A print from the defendant's bloody shoe matched the shoe print found in the victim's apartment, Claterbos said.
Ismael Beltran was taken by his mother to an Otay Mesa-area police station on Oct. 12 and was arrested. The mother was distraught and guilt- ridden, saying that her son was mentally ill, Detective Jonathan Dungan testified.
Defense attorney Jane Kinsey said her client acted in a psychotic state when he killed his alcoholic father and urged jurors to find her client guilty of manslaughter.
Kinsey said the defendant showed signs of mental illness and paranoia in 2014 and began acting strangely again days before he killed his father.
A psychiatrist hired by the defense diagnosed Ismael Beltran with chronic schizophrenia, Kinsey told the jury.