An Oceano man received a prison sentence of 40 years to life Thursday for committing a deadly assault that took place outside an Arroyo Grande bar in 2014.
On Oct. 2, 2014, Ignacio Franco Palomar III, 39, struck Gergory Arthur Rustigan, 38, from behind. The punch knocked Rustigan to the ground and caused his head to hit a concrete curb.
After the attack, Rustigan went into a coma. He died about a month after the assault.
On the night of the assault, Rustigan was intoxicated and was allegedly flirting with Palomar’s cousin inside Ralph and Duane’s. The victim reportedly did not realize that Palomar was a documented gang member with violent tendencies.
During a trial held in March, Palomar’s attorney unsuccessfully argued his client acted in self defense. The jury convicted Palomar of second degree murder.
Palomar already had two felony convictions under California’s Three Strikes Law. On Thursday, Judge Jacqueline Duffy sentenced him to 40 years to life in prison, 25 years more than the minimum punishment for second-degree murder.
Following the sentencing, District Attorney Dan Dow released a statement saying the case is an example of the potential consequences of a person exhibiting uncontrolled anger.
“This prosecution and sentence will serve as a sobering reminder of the devastation that can occur when anger outweighs self-restraint,” Dow said. “We hope that it provides the friends and family of the victim with some level of closure and justice.”