Professional skateboarder Joshua Swindell, convicted of the second-degree murder in the fatal beating of a man outside an Azusa bar, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Tuesday after a judge rejected his attorney's argument that the jury should have been given the option of manslaughter.
"This was a vicious felony assault. This was always in my mind a murder case," said Pomona Superior Court Judge George W. Trammell before sentencing the 23-year-old Diamond Bar skateboarder.
Last month, a jury found Swindell guilty of second-degree murder in the July, 1993, beating death of Keith Ogden, 31, of Michigan, outside a bar where the skateboarder and his friends attended a rap party.
Swindell, with his tan faded and his hair darkened after two years in jail, raised his handcuffed hands in defiance after the sentencing, saying sarcastically, "Oh, yeah." Swindell told the judge he had filed an appeal.
Before the sentencing, Swindell shook his head in disagreement when Trammell rejected his lawyer's petition challenging the judge's decision to limit the jury's options to first-degree and second-degree murder.
Swindell's parents were near tears. "I spoke to the jurors and they wanted involuntary manslaughter," said his mother, Annie Swindell. "They have the wrong kid in there."
Steve Mateus, 19, of Diamond Bar was also charged with Ogden's murder, but he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in return for a six-year sentence. As part of the deal, he testified against Swindell, saying he saw Swindell lead Ogden out of the bar and kick him three to five times in the face.