Applause erupted from the gallery of a San Diego courtroom Friday as a man was sentenced to 247 years behind bars for the murder of a Linda Vista man killed in his home two years ago.
“You’re a criminal. You’ll never see the light of day again,” a judge said to Joseph Anthony Hill, 46, the man found guilty in the murder of Sean O’Toole.
As Hill was given the maximum sentence for the murder -- 199 years to life, plus an extra 48 years -- claps filled the courtroom. Hill smirked as the judge revealed his fate.
More than a dozen of the victim’s loved ones attended the sentencing, witnessing justice firsthand. This included the mother and brother of the murder victim, who both addressed the courtroom.
Hill did not sit quietly through the family’s comments.
After O’Toole’s brother called Hill a coward, Hill responded by yelling expletives about the victim, claiming the victim was a bully.
While speaking before the judge, O’Toole’s brother and mother talked about how their lives have been impacted by the murder. O’Toole’s mother said the victim was a father, and now his son has to live his life without a dad.
“Sean was not perfect. He never claimed to be perfect. He made some pretty poor choices in his life, and he paid the ultimate price,” the mother said. “But he did not deserve to be murdered.”
At one point, a prosecutor said Hill had showed no remorse in this case.
Hill yelled out that he agreed, saying he had no remorse at all.
The victim’s family asked the judge to enforce the maximum sentence in this case. The judge agreed, also ruling that Hill will not be eligible for parole as he spends the rest of his life behind bars.
Hill, a parolee with a long criminal history, killed O’Toole and wounded another victim, Travis Bondurant, on Dec. 29, 2013. The next day, Hill was injured in a shootout in Point Loma after more than 10 rounds were fired between him and officials from the U.S. Marshal’s Violent Crimes Task Force, who were trying to take him into custody.
At Hill’s trial this past April, Deputy District Attorney Joe McLaughlin told a jury that Hill “went on a rampage” that began with the slaying of O’Toole. The prosecutor said Hill shot O’Toole because he had allegedly “disrespected” Hill’s girlfriend.
The victim was fatally shot on Drescher Street and dropped off at a local hospital where he later died. Hours later, Hill shot and injured Bondurant at the La Jolla Biltmore Motel.
As officers prepared to arrest Hill on Dec. 30, 2013, he struck an officer with his car. Then, the gunfight ensued. Hill was injured in the exchange, but was booked into jail a few days later.
Hill was found guilty of first-degree murder in April 2015.