Translate this page

Convicted felon who fatally beat man sentenced

Friday, June 20th, 2014
Issue 25, Volume 18.

MURRIETA - An ex-con who beat a homeless man to death at a Lake Elsinore-area transient camp was sentenced today to 31 years to life in prison.

Jason Lee Schmidt, 37, was convicted March 17 of second-degree murder with a sentence-enhancing weapon allegation in the 2012 slaying of 58-year-old Leopoldo Navarrete.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michael Rushton imposed the sentence required by law, factoring in the defendant's prior felony strikes.

According to sheriff's investigators, the defendant and Navarrete were loosely associated through encounters at a homeless camp known as the "Olive Groves," off of Adelfa Street and Grand Avenue in the community of Lakeland Village.

Schmidt admitted fatally beating Navarrete with a rock, telling detectives that he flew into a rage when the victim disclosed that he'd molested a grandchild. Navarrete's relatives vehemently denied that he ever had inappropriate contact with a juvenile family member.

Deputy District Attorney Burke Strunsky wrote in a trial brief that Schmidt told a fellow Advertisement
Advertisement for Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce
[ Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce ]
cell mate that the killing was "spur of the moment" and regrettable.

No one witnessed the June 14, 2012, attack, though several itinerants told authorities they encountered Schmidt in an agitated state that night, making self-incriminating statements, such as "first kill of the year."

Navarrete was reported missing within a day of his disappearance. A month later, a man walking in the area of Akley and Gillette streets -- about two blocks from the homeless encampment -- stumbled upon Navarrete's remains.

Based on video surveillance tape from a store where Navarrete and Schmidt were seen around the same time, as well as statements from witnesses, investigators on Aug. 20, 2012, served an arrest warrant on Schmidt, who was staying at a group home in the 22000 block of Herbert Street in Good Hope.

According to sheriff's officials, the defendant took off running but was quickly apprehended.

Schmidt has multiple prior felony convictions, including for drug- dealing, burglary and attempted burglary.



arrow Be the first to share your opinion on this article!

Add your Comment


Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.


The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter

Advertisement for Dan's Got Crabs


Most Commented

Reach Local Customers

The Valley News The Valley News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2015
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds