Two ex-convicts in California have been formally charged in the fatal stabbing of a US Marine that took place last week.
San Diego Deputy District Attorney Chris Lawson reported that 24-year-old Jeff Shai Holliday and 30-year-old Jose Oscar Esqueda reportedly targeted Christopher De Herrera in the early morning hours of December 29.
Distracted by his phone, unaware of his surroundings and separated from his friends, De Herrera was an easy target for the two prowlers. Moving into position, the duo circled the oblivious Herrera and prepared to strike.
Lawson claims it was Holliday who “sucker-punched” Herrera in the face, prompting the Marine’s four battle buddies to rush across the street and enter the melee in his defense.
In the ensuing scuffle, Marines Andrew Haulman and Ryan Evan Harris -who had known each other since childhood- were sliced up by Esqueda, with Harris eventually succumbing to a serious slash wound across his neck.
Arrested on Saturday after a hunt by authorities, Holliday and Esqueda were placed before a judge on Thursday, pleading not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, assault and conspiracy to commit robbery.
According to the San Diego Tribune, the entire attack had been focused on Herrera, who was so distracted by his phone that he lagged behind.
The attack took place outside of OMNIA, a Gaslamp District nightclub.
At the time of his murder, Harris’ wife was visiting family out of town. They had been married less than one year. Expecting her husband to meet him in Sacramento County on Friday evening, she instead received a dreaded phone call from the San Diego Police.
The tragic tale that led to the death of Harris gives painful perspective in regards to the dangers of being unaware of one’s surroundings and the seemingly omnipresent issue of individuals being distracted by mobile devices.
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