A former U.S. Marine’s lawyer argued throughout the proceedings that post-traumatic stress and mental health issues were main factors in the first-degree murder.
Mikhail Schmidt, 33, was sentenced Tuesday for stabbing and killing 37-year-old construction worker Jacob Bravo in Oceanside because he “craved the taste of blood,” Schmidt told law enforcement in a video confession.
Schmidt will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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Bravo’s mother, Kathleen Bravo, spoke in court after the sentencing and shared the impact this tragedy has had on the Bravo family. Schmidt stared straight ahead and appeared emotionless during Bravo’s statement.
"You said 'He's nobody', and so I decided to speak. My son Jacob is not nobody. How dare you," Kathleen Bravo said.
"You do not get to decide whose life has value or not," she added. "He was one-of-a-kind, a little spitfire. He was funny, stubborn, creative, smart, hyper and soft-hearted."
Schmidt’s lawyer stood by his argument, claiming the killing was motivated by post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health issues — not hate.
Jurors on Sept. 19 found special circumstances in that the murder of Jacob Bravo was committed intentionally and by means of laying in wait.
Schmidt told jurors “Agent Orange,” a counter-terrorist government agency, hired him in the hours before the killing and directed him to select Bravo as a target.
"That night, Agent Orange, they went and activated me," he said, discussing nanobots that he believes were injected in him during boot camp that can perform mind control.
Schmidt took the stand and testified in September about his experiences in the military, his diagnosis of PTSD after he was honorably discharged and his medical history that includes alcoholism, substance abuse and head injuries. The defense claimed the defendant's PTSD was a factor in his actions that night.
However, a forensic clinical psychologist testified that Schmidt tested off the charts as a “pathological liar” who “pretends emotions like love or remorse based on social cues” in an effort to con or manipulate others.
As for his military history, Mikhail Schmidt served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps and was deployed to Iraq six times. He was honorably discharged in August 2013 as a Staff Sergeant, E-6, according to a USMC spokesperson. Schmidt's last assignment was as a Marine Combat Instructor with the Infantry Training Battalion-West at Camp Pendleton.