SAN ANGELO, TX – The suspect in the Fiddlestring's Axe Assault Trial was found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a Tom Green County jury on Thursday afternoon.
The guilty verdict came after three days worth of testimony and evidence presented by both the state, attorneys Ashley Knight and Joe Webster, and the defense, attorney John Sutton. The jury began its deliberations on Thursday afternoon at 11:35 a.m. and came back with a verdict at 6:42 p.m.
The court reconvened on Friday morning at 9 a.m. with the punishment phase. Prior to the beginning of the trial, the defendant, Fabien Mejia, elected to have District Judge Jay Weatherby set his punishment. Normally, Aggravated Assault is penalized by 2-20 years in prison. However due to Mejia's previously felony conviction of deadly conduct, the penalty has been enhanced to 5-99 years.
During the punishment phase, the victim, Jessie Flores, took the stand. He told of his struggles since the assault. From re-learning how to walk to dealing with multiple seizures, Flores told the court how his life has been impacted since the attack.
After his testimony, the court took a brief recess so that Mejia could decide if he wanted to take the stand. Mejia decided to testify on his own behalf so the court moved forward. During his testimony he told the family, as well as Flores himself, how sorry he was. He said that during his time in jail, already he has realized how much a senseless act of violence can effect a family's life.
The defense then cross examined Mejia. Knight asked a number of questions regarding Mejia's personal background, his criminal background, and the things that had happened that night. The most impactful part of the cross examination came when Mejia double downed on him not beating Flores with anything but his fists.
The closing statements for both sides were complete opposite. The state asked the judge for a long sentence. "Only way to predict future behavior is by past behavior," said Knight.
Sutton asked for a 'reasonable sentence.' He claimed that giving his 21-year-old client an extended sentence will only further take him down a violent path. His two points were the violent inmates inside prison and the type of role models incarcerated.
Now Judge Weatherby will decide Mejia's fate. San Angelo LIVE! will report on the sentencing once it is complete.
For more on this case see the stories below: