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San Diego Man Sentenced For Killing Homeless Man After Posting Desire To Help The Homeless

Forrest Robert Brantley received a sentence of 33 years to life Tuesday after prosecutors say he stabbed two men, killing one, on Thanksgiving Day to see "what it felt like to take a life."

By Jill Sederstrom
Forrest Robert Brantley Pd

A San Diego man who claimed on social media that he wanted to “help the homeless” just days before stabbing two homeless people — killing one — will spend decades or more behind bars.

Tanya Sierra, a public affairs officer with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, confirmed to Oxygen.com that Forrest Robert Brantley, 40, was sentenced Tuesday to 33 years to life in a California state prison for the fatal stabbing of 55-year-old Robert Erbe.

Deputy District Attorney Will Hopkins said that Brantley stabbed Erbe and another homeless man who survived the attack in two separate incidents on Nov. 28, 2019 “with the sole motivation of seeing what it felt like to take a life,” according to the City News Service.

The San Diego Police Department’s communication center received a call around 8:00 a.m. that Thanksgiving morning that someone had been stabbed outside a 7-Eleven store on Sports Arena Boulevard — just east of the Pachanga Arena — according to a statement from police. Officers arrived to find a man, later identified as Erbe, suffering from “significant trauma to his neck.”

Erbe was rushed to the hospital where he died.

About six hours earlier, police say Brantley stabbed a different homeless man in the back and the arm in the same area, but the first victim survived Brantley's assault.

At Brantley’s arraignment, D.A. Hopkins said that Brantley later returned to the area where he stabbed the first man, approached Erbe and offered him a bag of drugs. While Erbe was looking through the bag, Brantley stabbed the 55-year-old, the City News Service reported last year.

When Erbe asked Brantley why he had attacked him, he allegedly responded “This is war.”

Just days earlier, Hopkins said that Brantley had posted on social media that he had wanted to “help the homeless” — although he had really been planning to target homeless people.

Brantley fled the scene after stabbing Erbe was arrested on Dec. 4, 2019 “without incident” after he was spotted in Ventura, California by police officers with the Ventura Police Department.

The attacks were not his first brush with the law. Brantley was arrested in 2016 after he broke into a gift shop in Ventura, stole two crucifixes and then used the religious symbols to batter multiple people, KTLA reported that year.

According to authorities, he approached three separate people and struck them with the crosses when they refused to hand over their cell phones.

He also caused moderate injury to a 75-year-old man’s face after smashing through the window of the man’s car and tried to break into a thrift store in an attempt to steal a bike.

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