MURRIETA – A Temecula man who stabbed and slashed a jogger in an unprovoked attack that nearly ended the woman’s life is slated to be sentenced today in Riverside County Superior Court.
Last month, a Murrieta jury convicted 21-year-old Kurt Alexander Smallen of a February 2012 attack on a mother of three whom prosecutors allege he intended to kill.
Smallen was found guilty of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon resulting in great bodily injury and a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a deadly weapon to commit a felony.
Superior Court Judge Angel Bermudez is expected to impose a sentence of 11 years to life in prison.
Deputy District Attorney Marcus Garrett told City News Service there was compelling evidence that the defendant was ”going for the victim’s heart with that knife.”
”The wounds he inflicted were life-threatening,” the prosecutor said.
According to Garrett, Smallen targeted the victim, identified only as a 36-year-old Temecula woman, for no other reason than to turn his rage on someone after an intense verbal altercation with his mother. Smallen, then 19, had returned home after a failed quest to achieve success as a college baseball player.
”He had been playing since he was 4 years old. He was married to the sport. That was his whole life,” Garrett said.
The defendant, a Chaparral High School graduate, had won a scholarship to Bacone College in Muskogee, Okla., where he pitched one season, losing 21 of 22 games, according to Garrett.
He said after the young man returned home, there were frequent arguments between the defendant and his mother over the house rules, including a curfew.
On Feb. 2, 2012, tensions boiled over, leading to a sharp exchange, after which the defendant stormed out of the house.
According to sheriff’s investigators, Smallen took a 3-inch lock-blade knife with him, heading into the Meadow View community, at the center of Temecula.
One woman reported being stalked by the defendant for nearly an hour as she took a leisurely stroll. But according to investigators, when the 6-foot-2, 170-pound Smallen spotted another woman jogging toward him, he fixed his attention on her.
Smallen took out his knife, slashing and stabbing the victim, puncturing both her breasts and piercing her liver, according to the prosecution.
The attack abruptly ended when a bicyclist rode up and confronted Smallen, who turned and ran.
Three men bicycling nearby witnessed the attack and chased Smallen down, surrounding and detaining him until deputies arrived.
According to Garrett, the victim was hospitalized for five days and underwent surgery, receiving over 50 staples for her wounds.