SAN MATEO – Paul Wayne King, found guilty in March of a hate killing for sending a black man crumpling to the sidewalk with a blow to the head outside a Redwood City bar, was sentenced Monday to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Judge Thomas Smith handed King, 39, a term of 46 years to life for an involuntary manslaughter conviction that was intensified under three-strikes sentencing guidelines.
King, whose knuckles are tattooed with the letters “SWP,” which prosecutors said stands for “Supreme White Pride,” appeared calm at Monday's hearing, sharing only a grimace of resignation with his defense attorney Connie O'Brien when the judge issued his sentence. At the reading of his guilty verdict March 14, King wept lightly.
On the night of Dec. 11, 1999, King, who had been released from jail just 18 hours before, lured his victim, Brad Davis, 52, outside the bar Shooters and then “sucker punched” him, the prosecution said, causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head on the pavement. Davis was found unconscious with his hands still in his pockets.
He died six days later without regaining consciousness.
Earlier that evening King was overheard complaining that Davis, a black man, was drinking with two white women in the bar.
Just prior to the sentencing, prosecutor James Wade argued that King, who has been locked up for much of his adulthood, was exactly who the three-strikes law was intended for.
“This is a violent man. This is a career criminal. This is a man that deserves the maximum,” Wade said.
O'Brien presented two character witnesses before sentence was imposed. Steven Humrich, a construction contractor who employed King for a year as a laborer and later as a carpenter's helper, said he thought King was trustworthy and he would hire him again.
“He came to work, he worked hard, he did his job and he went home,” he said.
Humrich said he and his family had once brought King with them on a camping vacation.
Judge Smith commended O'Brien on the defense she mounted for her client, and said he believed that King felt remorse.
Outside the courtroom, Wade said he was pleased that King has been relegated to a lifetime of incarceration.
“What he did was deplorable,” Wade said.