Mathis attacker gets 93 years in prison for U.C. home invasion
by Neal Putnam
Published - 12/20/12 - 09:39 AM | 4664 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The career criminal who assaulted former District 1 City Councilman Harry Mathis in a home-invasion robbery at his University City home was sentenced Dec. 12 to 93 years to life in prison.

Mathis, the 79-year-old chairman of the Metropolitan Transit System board, spoke about the Jan. 11 ordeal that he and wife Mary endured when they were held against their will and their house set on fire by Harvey Henry Duson, 46.

Consecutive sentences were imposed by San Diego Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide, and she fined Duson more than $10,000. She ordered him to pay $8,000 to a Sprint store in Point Loma, which was robbed by Duson at gunpoint on Nov. 9, 2011.

“This is why the legislature made the three strike law,” said Eyherabide.

Mathis told the judge this was “a life changing event,” and he and his wife suffered out-of-pocket losses of $10,000. But Mathis said they would not seek restitution because “it’s enough to be alive.”

Mathis was bludgeoned in the face by Duson and another robber who has never been identified. Mathis attempted to shoot Duson in the garage in self-defense when he was first attacked, but he missed and Duson gained control of the gun, for which Mathis had a permit. Duson pistol-whipped Mathis.

“You seemed to have a charmed life,” said Mathis to Duson, referring to his missed shot at Duson, as well as Duson’s injuries in a serious car accident while evading police in Arizona, after which Duson was hospitalized.

Mathis said it was “no accident” that Duson’s life was spared twice, saying “a higher power led you here.” He urged Duson to tell authorities who the other robber is.

“I believe there is good in him because he could have shot me,” said Mathis, adding that he and his wife would pray for Duson.

Mathis said the jewelry losses including the wedding rings of his mother and grandmother.

Duson said nothing in court. He pleaded guilty to all charges on Oct. 22 without a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Sheriff’s deputy Peter Carrillo, who shot Duson in 1993 following a robbery of a Pizza Hut restaurant in Lemon Grove, asked the judge to impose the maximum term. Carrillo said he shot Duson after Duson pointed a gun at him while fleeing the restaurant in a Pizza Hut uniform.

“I’m angry this man was released into society to harm people again,” said Carrillo. “I’m asking you to protect society from this career criminal.”

Duson was convicted of numerous robbery charges following the 1993 robbery and was sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Most of the 93-year sentence concerned the Mathis home invasion, but Duson did get a 35-year term for robbing the Sprint store at gunpoint and tying up two employees. He received credits for already spending 346 days in jail.

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