The man who brutally beat a former San Diego city councilman during a violent home invasion has been sentenced to 50 years to life in prison, plus 43 more years.
Back in January, Harry Mathis, 78, -- a former city councilman and chairman of the Metropolitan Transit System –- was returning to his University City home with his wife when they were met by two armed men.
A struggle ensued and Mathis was pistol-whipped in the head by the suspects and ordered into his bathroom along with his wife. Mathis sustained head injuries from the attack and the couple's home was ransacked.
One of the suspects in the brutal home invasion, Harvey Duson, 46, was arrested a week later. Duson, a parolee with a violent past, pleaded guilty to 11 counts charged against him in the robbery and beating in October.
According to Duson’s attorney, he pleaded guilty before trial because he wanted to spare his victims from the further pain of having to testify.
On Wednesday, Duson was sentenced in court. Given his age, the sentencing means he will die in prison.
During the sentencing, Mathis took a few minutes to speak directly to Duson. Instead of bitterness and anger toward his assailant, Mathis’ words were full of forgiveness.
He urged Duson to examine his life and pursue a different path in prison.
Mathis said, in part: "You may well be at the most important crossroad in your life. We hope you'll take advantage of it and save yourself in making the right choices, it's not too late. If you decide to take the path to a new life we'll pray for your success and we wish you good luck in your decision.”
Duson looked on as Mathis spoke.
While Duson has been sentenced in Mathis’ home invasion robbery, the other suspect who was with him that night remains at large.