A probationer who slashed a man with a machete, cutting his forearm to the bone, over a prior conflict at a Lake Elsinore-area homeless camp was sentenced today to seven years in state prison.
A Banning jury in September convicted 38-year-old Christopher David Smith of assault with a deadly weapon resulting in great bodily injury and a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony for the May 22 attack on Raymond Carrillo.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jorge Hernandez imposed the maximum allowable sentence.
According to the prosecution, Smith and Carrillo had a hostile encounter on the night of May 21, when Carrillo heard a woman and child in distress on a hillside overlooking an itinerant camp in the area of Lakeland Village.
Trying to determine whether the pair needed assistance, Carrillo left his campsite and walked into theirs and was confronted by Smith, who became furious that the victim had violated his space, according to a trial brief filed by the District Attorney’s Office.
Smith ordered Carrillo to leave, and when the latter hesitated out of concern for the woman and child’s welfare, the defendant grabbed a machete and chased him down the hill, losing sight of him in darkness, according to court papers.
The victim told investigators that he stumbled onto an old car seat under a tree on Buena Vista Street and fell asleep. He woke up about 7:30 a.m. the next day and spotted Smith running up to him with the machete, according to prosecutors.
The defendant swung the blade, striking Carrillo in the left forearm, leaving a gash deep enough to expose bone. Smith swung again, narrowly missing Carrillo’s head, at which point the victim kicked his attacker in the leg, causing him to fall. Carrillo then kicked Smith in the face and ran for his life, according to the prosecution.
Smith ran after the bleeding man, who headed toward the intersection of Buena Vista and Grand Avenue, trying to flag down motorists for help. The victim headed into oncoming traffic to make drivers stop as Smith got nearer to him, still wielding the machete, authorities said.
Three motorists stopped on Grand and got out of their cars to call 911 and see what they could do for the victim. Smith immediately tossed his machete and ran toward Glenetta Way in an attempt to get away, prosecutors said.
Deputies arrived in under a minute and spotted the defendant, who was arrested without a struggle.
Carrillo underwent surgery at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar and has since made a full recovery.
According to court records, Smith has two prior convictions for receiving stolen property.