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Man sentenced 16 years to life for fatal wrench attack at Rolando 7-Eleven

A man who struck another man in the head with a wrench outside a 7-Eleven store in the Rolando neighborhood, resulting in the victim’s death five days later, was sentenced today to 16 years to life in state prison.

In August, a San Diego Superior Court jury found John Cowan Patch, 29, guilty of second-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon in the death of George Almestar, a 30-year-old father of four.

The attack happened around 4:20 a.m. Nov. 5, 2019, in the parking lot of the convenience store near the intersection of El Cajon and Rolando boulevards.

Authorities said Almestar was in a coma on life support for five days before he died.

Police identified Patch as the suspect through surveillance footage and witness accounts. Officers arrested him about 11 hours after the attack on El Cajon Boulevard, less than a mile away from the 7-Eleven, authorities said.

In a videotaped interview with police, Patch said the victim first drove toward him in a truck, then got out of the vehicle and advanced on him, prompting him to strike Almestar in self-defense.

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