Judge hands down 15-years-to-life sentence in sailor’s stabbing death

EL CAJON (CNS) – A Fresno-area man who admitted having a role in the stabbing death of a sailor in Spring Valley was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years to life in prison.

Robert Navarro Jr,. 23, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the April, 14, 2009, death of 32-year-old Charles Schoeneman. Co-defendant Jeffrey Jin Dunn was killed in a jail fight in November.

On the day of the killing, a fellow Navy man, worried that Schoeneman failed to report for duty, went to his Spring Valley apartment in the 3800 block of Conrad Drive.

A manager let the serviceman in, and they found the petty officer's body bearing “obvious signs” of trauma, sheriff's deputies said at the time. Schoeneman, who had been stabbed to death, had been assigned to 32nd Street Naval Station San Diego.

Navarro and Dunn, both residents of Fresno County town of Kingsbury, were arrested in Schoeneman's slaying in August 2009.

Authorities said Schoeneman knew the defendants but did not say how.

Schoeneman served aboard the USS Kitty Hawk and was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, “only to be murdered by a pair of psychopaths in his own country,” his father said.

Charles Schoeneman said his son was stabbed 39 times, and the tip of the knife blade broke off in his skull.

Judge Allen Preckel said Navarro's actions belied his upbringing and family support.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to understand how Mr. Navarro began as he did as a child and ended up here today as a self-confessed convicted murderer,” the judge said, calling the killing “heinous and callous.”

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