Man in fatal hit-and-run crash sentenced to 30 years in prison - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man in fatal hit-and-run crash sentenced to 30 years in prison

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EL CAJON (CNS) - An ex-con who admitted involvement in a hit-and-run accident that killed a 20-year-old man walking home from work in Spring Valley was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison.

Jason Michael Palmer, 34, pleaded guilty last month to gross vehicular manslaughter and admitted an allegation that he left the scene.

Palmer -- who has misdemeanor DUI and hit-and-run convictions from 2000 -- pleaded guilty in connection with the accident that killed Jacob Greenwald last Oct. 27.

Friends and family held nothing back as they confronted Palmer before his sentencing Wednesday.

"Because of the way you've killed my son, all I can think is a death befitting you in the same manner," father Bill Greenwald said. "You left my son in a pool of blood, and he was still alive and you just drove off. You're a coward."

Palmer sobbed throughout the victim impact statements. A much different demeanor from when we saw him in October, smirking at our cameras after being arrested. He addressed the family before he was sentenced Wednesday.

"I'd like to express my deepest and most sincere apologies for taking the life of your son," he said.

Oscar Flores, a friend of the defendant, testified during a preliminary hearing last year that Palmer showed up at his Serra Mesa home more than six hours after the 3:45 a.m. collision, drinking a beer. Flores testified that Palmer told him that he had done "something terrible."

"He said, 'I think I may have killed someone,'” Flores told prosecutor Cally Bright.

"I told him, 'You messed up,' and that he would be in more trouble for leaving the scene,” Flores said, adding that he suspected Palmer was intoxicated at the time of the collision.

The witness said he told Palmer to turn himself in, but Palmer said he was scared and didn't know what to do.

Palmer was eventually arrested at a home close to where Flores lived.

At Palmer's arraignment, Bright said the defendant has been to prison three times -- for attempted robbery, receiving stolen property and possessing a vehicle that didn't belong to him -- and was recently released from custody.

He subsequently was released from a halfway house, according to the prosecutor.

Authorities said Greenwald was walking home on a sidewalk on Campo Road when he was struck by a Toyota 4Runner. The SUV's front license plate was left behind, near the victim's body.

The 4Runner -- owned by Palmer's grandfather -- was located in Serra Mesa just before the defendant was arrested.

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