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USMC Vet on Trial for ‘Thrill’ Killing in Oceanside

Prosecutors say Schmidt "missed the thrill" of killing and went out that night looking for a life to take

In a call to 911, an Oceanside man described waking up to a grisly scene inside a trailer on a construction job site - his co-worker was laying in a pool of blood.

The recording was played Thursday in Vista as part of the trial of a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who is accused of attacking and killing Jacob Bravo in March 2017. 

Rick Wrangle testified that when he woke up, he saw Bravo on the floor of the trailer in the kitchen area. 

"The first thing I Think is maybe he had a few too many beers," Wrangle testified. "Then I realized there was blood everywhere." 

Bravo had been staying on Windward Way where million-dollar homes were being built just steps from The Strand.

The man who police and prosecutors say killed Bravo was arrested hours later just two blocks away. 

Mikhail Schmidt, 33, served eight years in the USMC and was deployed to Iraq six times. 

Schmidt left the Marine Corps in August 2013 as a Staff Sergeant, E-6, according to a USMC spokesperson. His last assignment was as a Marine Combat Instructor with the Infantry Training Battalion-West at Camp Pendleton.

Prosecutors say Schmidt "missed the thrill" of killing and went out that night looking for a life to take.

Schmidt's defense attorney Brad Patton said his client has struggled with PTSD, depression, alcohol abuse and psychosis as a result of "horrific circumstances" while on combat missions.

At the time Bravo's body was found in the trailer at the work site, Schmidt had been working at a fitness supply store. 

Prosecutors said Schmidt confessed to his supervisor that he was responsible for Bravo's death. The veteran and triathlete told his boss that he was working for a secret government agency.

"[Schmidt] said he worked for an agency called 'Orange' and that when that agency called, he did what they said and that it was above my understanding," Matthew Houston testified.

If convicted Schmidt faces 25 years to life in prison.

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