The smiling murderer who thought he was bolstering his gang reputation by fatally stabbing an innocent Stanton family man was sentenced Friday to 26 years to life in state prison.
Daniel Perez Munoz, 25, was drinking with a group of friends in a Stanton apartment complex's carport after 7 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2014, when he spotted 52-year-old Phuong “Bob” Huynh cutting through a vacant lot while on a beer run.
Munoz, a self-proclaimed member of a Garden Grove street gang, ran up to Huynh and demanded to know where he was from, but before the older man could even respond he was repeatedly stabbed in the neck and chest with a knife, according to witness statements related by Orange County sheriff's investigators.
Huynh staggered a step ore two, fell to the pavement and died in an alleyway near Garden Grove Boulevard and Court Street before first responders arrived.
Big, bad gang banger Munoz's defense was … wait for it … self defense.
Munoz's attorney Kelly Rozek told jurors during the week-long trial that Huynh stared down the defendant and reached for a weapon before he was stabbed (and stabbed and stabbed and stabbed).
The jury obviously bought prosecutor Mike Murray's counter: that it was too dark and there was too much distance between the men for Munoz to make out a threatening facial expression on Huynh's face.
Murray said Huynh was trying to get back to his family more quickly and simply picked the wrong shortcut. He left behind a wife, a child and a stepchild.
A jury found Munoz guilty Aug. 16 of felony murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a knife.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick H. Donahue in Santa Ana imposed the strictest sentence for such a conviction.