Man sentenced to life in prison for murdering Vietnam veteran in Gilbert

Jun 24, 2023, 10:15 AM

(MCSO Photo)...

(MCSO Photo)

(MCSO Photo)

PHOENIX — A 35-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a war veteran in 2020.

On May 2, a jury found Jacob Samia guilty of five counts: one felony count of first-degree murder, one felony count of burglary, one felony count of kidnapping, one felony count of burglary in the third degree and one misdemeanor count of criminal damage.

Frank Bernal, a Vietnam War veteran, was sleeping in his Gilbert home when he was attacked and murdered by Samia, according to a press release.

“Frank Bernal was the definition of an American hero,” Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said in the release.

“He was attacked in the peace of his home where he was brutally beaten, strangled and killed. The crime perpetrated on Mr. Bernal has left a lasting impact on his immediate family, friends, the neighborhood where Mr. Bernal lived and the community of Gilbert.”

Bernal, 73, died in a hospital after police responded to an early-morning call Oct. 11, 2020 about criminal damage to a property near Warner and Cooper roads.

They followed a trail of blood from the site to Bernal’s nearby home. Inside, officers found Bernal unconscious with injuries associated with a beating.

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Man sentenced to life in prison for murdering Vietnam veteran in Gilbert