Man who killed transient in rock attack sentenced to 19 years to life in prison

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man who fatally bludgeoned a transient with a rock
near his encampment in Hillcrest because the victim had previously testified
against him in a grand theft case was sentenced Wednesday to 19 years to life in
state prison.

Joshua James Larson, 38, was convicted Sept. 21 of second-degree murder
in the death of Jason Huggins.

Witnesses who lived in the homeless camp near the 1300 block of
Washington Street identified Larson as being in the camp looking for Huggins
the day of the attack.

“This was a crime of revenge,” said Deputy District Attorney Makenzie
Harvey.

Huggins walked out of a gorge near his camp on June 22, 2011, and
flagged down a passing motorist. He was only able to tell the driver he had
been beaten on the head with a rock.

Medics took the 31-year-old victim to a trauma center, where his
condition worsened and he died two weeks later. A deputy medical examiner said
Huggins had a fractured skull and brain injuries caused by blunt force trauma
to the left side of his head.

Larson was also convicted of assault with a deadly weapon for hitting
Huggins' friend, Nathan Meza, in the face with a rock.

Meza testified that he and Huggins had seen Larson on the street and at
a McDonald's restaurant the day of the attack.

When Meza and Huggins arrived back at their tent, Larson appeared and
threw a rock at Meza and later fought with Huggins, Meza testified.

Harvey said Larson had a motive to attack Huggins, who had testified
against the defendant in a 2009 case in which Larson was convicted of taking
the victim's wallet.

A cousin said Huggins became homeless after moving from Tennessee to San
Diego.

Larson — who was also convicted of threatening a witness — was on
probation for the grand theft conviction and a drug sales charge at the time of
the murder, the prosecutor said.

Categories: KUSI