Hit and run driver sentenced in death of Spring Valley man

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A 19-year-old hit and run driver who killed 75-year-old James Sonny Martinez in Spring Valley was sentenced Sept. 27 to 180 days in a work furlough facility.

Andrew Wesam Thouzen was handcuffed and taken into custody after El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Lamborn placed him on terms of three years probation.

A 19-year-old hit and run driver who killed 75-year-old James Sonny Martinez in Spring Valley was sentenced Sept. 27 to 180 days in a work furlough facility.

Andrew Wesam Thouzen was handcuffed and taken into custody after El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Lamborn placed him on terms of three years probation.

Thouzen was 18 years old when he struck Martinez on Feb. 7 around 10 p.m. when Martinez was crossing Sweetwater Road to his home nearby. Martinez was not in a crosswalk and the street was dark at the time.

“Andrew, I am going to forgive you,” said Tammy Johannesen, the victim’s daughter. “Because anger in my heart–I can’t live with that. And I know this is what my dad would want.”

“He was a very loving person,” said Johannesen.

Deputy District Attorney Kristina Gill said Thouzen didn’t stop and made no 911 call. She urged 180 days in jail, saying “the community needs to see the consequences” of drivers not stopping after they hit someone.

Thouzen works for a towing company and will be allowed to work days, but will be locked up at night and on weekends.

His projected release is Dec. 18, according to the sheriff’s department.  Lamborn gave him credit for serving 16 days in jail before he posted $75,000 bond.

Though Thouzen didn’t stop after striking Martinez, he did return about an hour later with his father and was arrested. He pleaded guilty July 25 to hit and run causing death.

“Everything happens for a reason. Maybe this tragic loss will teach you something, Andrew,” said Tia Martinez, the victim’s daughter-in-law.

Thouzen wept as he stood before Lamborn as the victim’s family members spoke. “I’d like to say I’m really sorry to the family. I’ll never do it again,” said Thouzen.

His attorney, Thomas Matthews, said his client was driving home from work “when tragedy struck” and this was his first criminal conviction.

“He’s relived this in his mind many times. It will haunt him the rest of his life,” said Matthews. “He’s very remorseful. He gets it. He knows what he did was wrong now.”

Matthews said it happened due to Thouzen’s “life inexperience combined with fear.” 

Man sentenced in killing of Flinn Spring man

A man who killed 64-year-old Bren Fisher in his Flinn Springs home was sentenced Sept. 27 to 25 years to life in state prison.

Fisher was found beaten to death Jan. 7, 2016 in the 9900 block of Bridon Road by sheriff’s deputies. The house was ransacked.

Rory Patrick Fay, 33, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Feb. 27. Fay took a number of items from Fisher’s home that were later found at a mobile home in Flinn Springs where Fay was staying.

“I have no remorse for his death,” said Fay, after he made an unfounded allegation about Fisher, who was a friend of his family.

Fisher had been home six days after a 2-month stay at a hospital. He slept in a hospital bed in the living room when he was killed.

Fay formerly worked for a water restoration company that repairs damages to structures. He severed the water line in the kitchen and bathroom, causing flooding in most of the house after killing Fisher.

There was $30,000 in damages due to flooding, said the victim’s daughter to El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Lamborn.

Lamborn said a restitution hearing will be set at a later time to determine if Fay will have to pay for the flooding damages and other costs. He ordered Fay to pay $939 in funeral costs and fined him $10,224.

The cause of death was blunt force trauma with an object, said Deputy District Attorney Andrew Aguilar. There was blood splatter on the wall, ceiling, fan, and other areas, according to previous testimony.

“No one should have to see what we saw,” said Fisher’s daughter, who was identified only as Elizabeth. 

She described her father as “a defenseless victim.”

The items taken by Fay included replica dueling pistols, two Zippo lighters, a walking cane, and several pieces of silverware. A bowling pin was found cut in half.

Fay was on parole at the time after serving a prison sentence for possession of a firearm and illegal drugs.

The judge gave Fay credit for serving 623 days in jail before sentencing. A special circumstance allegation of murder during a residential burglary was dropped along with bringing marijuana into the jail.

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