Skyler Jace Battreall, 20, will likely have to serve the five-year sentence first and then will be only eligible for parole after he serves seven years of the life term.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Sharon Majors-Lewis ordered Battreall to pay $5,051 in restitution to Brett Charbonnel, 22, whose car was totaled after Battreall crashed it on Emerald Street on Oct. 14, 2018.
Charbonnel was parked on Garnet Avenue near Cass Street around 9 p.m. when Battreall asked for a ride. Charbonnel let him inside his Hyundai Elantra, but Battreall then became demanding and pulled an airsoft pellet gun.
Battreall struck the Grossmont College student in the mouth with the gun replica, knocking out two teeth, and pushed him out of the car. Charbonnel thought it was a real firearm.
A jury convicted Battreall of kidnapping during a carjacking and inflicting great bodily injury on Sept. 3 after only two hours of deliberations. They also convicted him of assault with a deadly weapon.
“He’s not going to do life,” said Deputy District Attorney James Koerber. “He’s going to have to convince a parole board he’s not going to commit a crime.”
The state legislature has determined that inmates with a life sentence must serve a full seven years before they can be considered eligible for parole. A life without parole sentence means someone can never be released.
“Does the crime fit the time?” asked Battreall’s attorney, Christopher Montoya. “He does deserve a shot at parole.”
Montoya said the charge should not carry a life sentence and that Battreall will likely be “victimized in prison.”
“He’s going to come out a different person and not in a good way,” said Montoya.
Montoya had argued to jurors to acquit Battreall because he was under the influence of drugs at the time.
“I am truly sorry. There’s not a day I don’t think about it,” said Battreall to the judge.
“Whatever (the sentence) is, I am determined to change myself for the better…make myself a better person,” said Battreall.
The judge gave him credit for serving 460 days in jail and fined him $440.
Battreall testified at trial that he did not have a plan and when he pulled the gun replica out, he also told the student he was wanted for murder, which was not true.
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.
“I feel terrible about what happened to him,” said Battreall, saying he had remorse. “It’s an incident that shouldn’t have taken place.”
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 and police officers found Battreall hiding under a tarp in someone’s back yard.