A man who fatally bashed a 54-year-old woman in the head with a liquor bottle, in an unprovoked attack that occurred as she stood in line at a Temecula store with her daughter, was sentenced Friday to 25 years to life in state prison.
Brian Eldon Saylor, 33, of Temecula was convicted in February of first- degree murder for the June 13, 2016, death of Tammy Serrano, whose adult daughter told the court that her days no longer “have the same sunshine they used to” now that her mother is gone.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Stephen Gallon imposed the sentence required by law.
Saylor’s trial in February was his second, and he acted as his own attorney both times. In his first trial last September, jurors deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting him of murder, leading to a mistrial and an immediate decision by the District Attorney’s Office to retry the case. Jurors in his retrial deliberated less than two hours before finding him guilty.
According to prosecutors, Serrano and her daughter had stopped by a CVS store at 31771 Rancho California Road on June 13, 2016, to purchase some cosmetics and were at the register, checking out, when Saylor stepped up to the register directly adjacent to them.
The defendant appeared to be searching for money in his wallet to buy a 750 mL bottle of Jim Beam whiskey when he abruptly picked up the bottle and slammed it into the left side of Serrano’s head, prosecutors said.
The woman collapsed to the floor unconscious, after which Saylor walked out of the store, lit a cigarette and waited for deputies to arrive and arrest him.
According to witnesses and investigators, the victim had never met the defendant, and the two did not interact while in the CVS. A possible motive remains unclear.
Serrano died the next day at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar.
In addition to eyewitnesses, part of the attack was captured by store security surveillance video cameras, and the footage was played for jurors in both trials.
An employee from a neighboring outlet told reporters that the defendant was often seen walking in the area and appeared intoxicated but did not seem violent.
He had no documented prior felony convictions.