Pacific Beach carjacker found guilty
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 09/05/19 - 08:45 AM | 1730 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Blue tinted monotone image of a gavel and scales of justice
Blue tinted monotone image of a gavel and scales of justice
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After only two hours of deliberations, a jury on Sept. 3 convicted a Texas man of kidnapping a college student during a carjacking in Pacific Beach.

Skyler Jace Battreall, 20, showed little reaction to the verdicts, which include assault with a deadly weapon when he struck Brett Charbonnel, 22, twice in the face with a replica handgun.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Sharon Majors-Lewis set sentencing for Oct. 24. Battreall remains in jail without bail.

Deputy District Attorney James Koerber said Battreall faces life in prison on the kidnap conviction. He could get several more years on the assault conviction.

Battreall’s attorney, Christopher Montoya, said afterwards it was possible that Battreall could be placed on probation. Montoya had asked jurors to acquit Battreall on the kidnap charge on the basis that he was under the influence of drugs at the time.

The verdicts were relatively quick by the nine-man, three-woman jury as Koerber finished his rebuttal closing argument Tuesday morning.

“I was under the influence,” said Battreall to jurors when he testified Aug. 29. “I couldn’t think clearly. Reason was gone.”

Battreall admitted he approached Charbonnel who was parked on Garnet Avenue near Cass Street at 9 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2018. He asked Charbonnel, a student at Grossmont College, for a ride, saying his motorcycle was stolen.

Battreall got into the Hyundai Elantra and asked to be taken to the McDonald’s to meet his girlfriend, but he didn’t know that was only a few blocks away. He told Charbonnel to go farther, and directed him into a residential area of Pacific Beach.

Battreall admitted he pulled the air soft pellet gun and declared he was wanted for murder in Washington, but that he was not guilty of that charge. He acknowledged that was a made up story.

“I didn’t really have a plan for anything,” said Battrreall. “I was on my last dollars. I was starting to panic. That’s why I said it.”

He acknowledged taking cocaine and Ecstasy pills during and after his bus trip from Corsicara, Texas, and he had only arrived in San Diego that day.

Battreall acknowledged hitting the student with the gun replica, although Charbonnel did not know it was not a real gun. He lost a tooth, and jurors saw photos of a bloodied Charbonnel in a hospital bed.

“I feel terrible about what happened to him,” said Battreall, saying he had remorse. “It’s an incident that shouldn’t have taken place.”

“I was under the influence of multiple drugs. I couldn’t think clearly,” said Battreall.

Charbonnel said he was pushed out of his car after he yelled for help from two bystanders on the sidewalk. Battreall drove off in his car.

Officer Christopher Johnson saw the Hyundai driving without headlights and saw it turn on Fanuel Street. Johnson activated his overhead lights and followed the car to Emerald Street where it crashed into a parked car.

The car was totaled. Police officers found Battreall hiding under a tarp in someone’s back yard. The trial began Aug. 22.

After the verdicts, the judge held a hearing about Battreall’s prior conviction in 2017 for grand theft in Texas. Majors-Lewis said he was on probation at the time of the carjacking.
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