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Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
September 04, 2012
DALLAS -- The two men who attacked an Independence resident in June will serve three years of probation.
Eleazar Martinez, 20, and Guadalupe Trujillo, 25, pleaded guilty Thursday in Polk County Circuit Court to one count each of third-degree assault.
The pair had also been facing charges of felony second-degree assault, fourth-degree assault, tampering with physical evidence, harassment, and second-degree disorderly conduct. Those charges were dismissed as part of a plea negotiation with the Polk County District Attorney's Office.
Polk Chief Deputy District Attorney Jenn Gaddis, who represented the DA's office during sentencing Thursday, said the plea agreement hinged on whether the victim, Samuel Fitts, was determined to have suffered "serious physical injury" in the attack.
Fitts was hospitalized for nearly a week following the attack, almost four of those days spent in a coma.
However, Gaddis said the DA's office examined Fitts' medical records and found his injuries didn't qualify as serious.
Polk County Circuit Court Judge Monte Campbell told both defendants, who were sentenced separately, they could have faced much stricter sentences. He said if the case had gone to trial, a jury may have considered Fitts' injuries serious. Had that been the case, the defendants could have been convicted on second-degree assault, a Measure 11 crime.
"I could see a jury saying it was a serious physical injury and you would be facing 75 months in the big house," Campbell said during Trujillo's sentencing. "This is a smokin' deal -- not one you want to blow off."
The assault took place June 9 in Independence after a confrontation in a nearby bar.
"I'm sorry it came down to that," Trujillo said before his sentencing.
Gaddis said three years probation is the presumptive sentence for third-degree assault.
The defendants were assigned other conditions, including: paying $13,000 in medical-related bills for Fitts, 180 hours of community service, alcohol treatment, and not having contact with Fitts or with each other during their probation.