A convicted felon with seven prior strikes received a three-year prison sentence Thursday for a sucker punch that left a man permanently disabled in La Habra, against the urging of prosecutors, who had sought a sentence of 33 years to life behind bars, officials said.
Christian Isadore Dubose knocked the 34-year old victim unconscious with a single unprovoked punch to the head and fled the scene as both men were at a birthday party in La Habra on April 13, 2018, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a written statement.
The vicim suffered skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries, officials said. He underwent months of treatment in a hospital and continues to suffer from cognitive problems including memory loss and difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy. He now has the mental capacity of a 14-year-old boy.
“He also drags his left leg and foot when he walks as a result of the attack,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
Dubose, who already had seven prior serious convictions, or “strikes,” pleaded guilty in March to a felony charge of battery causing serious injury and a misdemeanor charge of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, officials said.
But at his sentencing hearing, Orange County Superior Court Judge Roger B. Robbins reduced the felony assault charge to a misdemeanor, dismissed an enhancement of causing great bodily injury to the victim and struck Dubose seven prior strike convictions, “over the repeated objections of the prosecution,” according to the statement.
The reason for the leniency was not clear.
The near-fatal sucker punch took place as Dubose and the victim were at a birthday party at a La Habra apartment. The victim and his girlfriend left the party to move their cars from a prohibited parking area.
“Dubose followed the victim and accused him of owing him $200,” the district attorney’s office statement said. “Without provocation, Dubose punched the victim in the head, hitting him with such force that the victim fell and hit his head with full force and without bracing his fall. Dubose left his victim unconscious and fled.”
Dubose’s “extensive” criminal history includes a gang-related takeover robbery at a business in which one victim was pistol-whipped and another was held at knifepoint, prosecutors said.
The victim’s father, Philip Coley, implored the judge to give Dubose a lengthy prison sentence.
“Coley told the judge of being by his son’s hospital bed for 2 ½ months, watching him fight for his life, and the life sentence his family has been forced to endure caring for their now-incapacitated son,” the statement said.
“I feel like it’s unjust. It’s unfair,” the father said. “This is an ex-felon whose behavior has not changed. He is a clear and evident threat to society. He should be sentenced as such.”
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer agreed.
“It is unconscionable that someone who intentionally unleashed this level of violence after a lifetime of committing crime would be given such a lenient sentence,” he said. “This slap on the wrist does little to hold the perpetrator accountable or protect our community from someone who has demonstrated an increasingly serious level of violence.”