SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Connecticut man who beat and fatally stabbed an 83-year-old widower during a 1989 break-in at the victim's home in Pacific Beach was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Howard Dean Jamison, 53, was convicted in September of first-degree murder and a special circumstance allegation that the Dec. 8, 1989, murder of Ewing C. Scroggs occurred during the course of a burglary.
The victim, who was frail and lived alone, was discovered two days after being stabbed in the back with his own butcher knife, Deputy District Attorney Allison Worden said.
Worden said Scroggs' niece told her that until she saw Jamison stand up in court, she had no idea how big he was. Jamison was well over 6 feet tall and Scroggs was 5-foot-6, weighed 130 pounds and walked with a cane.
"My poor uncle was no match for him," the prosecutor said Elissa Stone told her.
Stone also explained that her parents -- who discovered her uncle's body -- never recovered from the ordeal, Worden said.
The prosecutor told the jury in her closing argument that Jamison left his DNA in the residence, both in a blood stain on a bedroom drawer and a cigarette butt in the main bathroom.
After killing Scroggs, Jamison rummaged through the victim's dresser drawers and belongings before leaving, Worden said.
Defense attorney Troy Britt told jurors that Jamison was in Scroggs' home at some point, but that didn't prove he killed the victim. He argued there was no evidence linking his client to the victim's body or to the murder weapon.
Worden said Jamison was in San Diego at the time of the murder and stayed for only two weeks. After hearing on a television news broadcast that the victim's body had been discovered, Jamison -- who was not a suspect at that point -- turned himself in as a fugitive from Connecticut and was extradited back to that state, where he was wanted for an unrelated crime. Jamison also
had convictions from New York, New Jersey and Louisiana.
Worden said the case went cold until 2003, when the blood stain on the drawer and the cigarette butt could be tested for DNA.
In April 2009, authorities using a national database matched the DNA found at the Pacific Beach crime scene with DNA taken from Jamison after one of his convictions and he was arrested on Aug. 24, 2009, in Milford, Conn.
"It is unfortunate it took so long to bring Mr. Jamison to justice," Judge Laura Halgren said.
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