A single punch knocked Richard Joseph Gilroy to the ground and into a coma. The 39-year-old died about two weeks later.
Gilroy’s sister traveled from Ohio to address her brother’s killer in court Thursday morning. Rita Gilroy said her nieces and nephews are growing up without a father, and she misses her brother’s frequent phone calls and text messages, his laughter and love.
She’s holding on to what remains.
“Mr. Lamb, there is one thing that you can’t take away from me and my family,” she said. “And that is our memories of him.”
Travis Michael Lamb, 28, did not react to her comments.
He’d been scheduled for sentencing Thursday, but it was postponed to April 22 to give his attorney time to collect character statements, review the probation department report filed in the case and file a motion regarding a past felony “strike” on Lamb’s record.
He faces up to 18 years in prison.
Judge Michael E. Dellostrito allowed the continuance but still permitted Rita Gilroy to address the court because he didn’t want to inconvenience her with another flight from Ohio on the new sentencing date.
Prosecutors say Lamb punched Gilroy during an altercation March 23, 2013 in the Vons shopping center parking lot at 5360 Olive Drive. According to deputies, Lamb had been driving his pickup in front of the store and another man hit the back of Lamb’s truck with his hand because he thought he was driving either too fast or too slow.
Lamb turned his truck around and pulled up next to the man, according to prosecutors. The two began arguing.
Gilroy, the man’s friend, walked over and began arguing with Lamb. The defendant punched him on the left side of his face, breaking the portion of his skull where the nasal bone meets the eye socket.
Gilroy collapsed and his head hit the pavement, prosecutors said. He immediately went into a coma, and died at Kern Medical Center early the next month.
A jury convicted Lamb on March 11 of involuntary manslaughter, battery with serious bodily injury and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury. He was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter.
Lamb pleaded no contest in 2006 to assault with a deadly weapon other than a gun, according to court filings. He pleaded no contest to possessing a stolen vehicle the same year.
In 2004, Lamb pleaded no contest to spousal abuse, threatening with the intent to terrorize and willful cruelty to a child.