Man sentenced to prison for killing homeless, former MLB player
(KTLA.COM) LOS ANGELES, Calif. – A 33-year-old transient was sentenced Monday to 16 years to life in state prison in the murder of a former professional baseball player who was homeless and living in Los Angeles in 2013.
Billy Morales was found guilty of second-degree murder in January as well as a special allegation that he used a knife in the killing, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors said 55-year-old Rodney Craig tried to stay at a homeless encampment on Aug. 17, 2013, but was kicked out by other transients.
As he left the encampment, Craig tried to kick a dog, the prosecutor said.
Morales and another man, Anthony Johnson, chased after Craig, caught him and began kicking and punching him, prosecutors said.
Evidence presented at trial showed that Morales fatally stabbed Craig once in the chest.
Johnson, 24, pleaded no contest to one count of assault and was sentenced in August to six years in state prison. Johnson testified that he was not aware that Morales had a knife and intended to kill the victim, prosecutors said.
Craig played in the big leagues for four seasons as an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox between 1979 and 1986, according to the Associated Press.