NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - One day after a Nacogdoches County jury found a 45-year-old man guilty of assaulting a 50-year-old man with a machete back in October of 2015, they sentenced him to 18 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison Friday afternoon.
The trial for Jose N. Alfaro, of Nacogdoches, was held in Judge Edwin Klein's 420th Judicial District Court. In addition to the prison sentence, the jury hit Alfaro with a $10,000 fine. Deliberation only lasted about an hour.
Alvarez's daughter, Aracelli Alvarez, spoke for her entire family on their feelings, regarding the verdict.
"We're very happy that justice has finally been served," she said. "We definitely couldn't have done it without all the district attorney's office and the jury. It was really tough, but we're finally seeing the end and getting closure."
The defense felt like the case was a difficult one.
"It's unfortunate on our end because I still maintain that this was a true case of self-defense," said John Heath, Alfaro's defense attorney. "Ultimately, I believe the jury felt like it was too much of a response to too little provocation."
Alfaro is still being held in the Nacogdoches County Jail. No bail amount was ever set on his charge.
John Heath,advised his client in court Friday to not take the stand. According to Heath, that testimony might have made the punishment worse than if he didn't take the stand.
Alfaro chose to have the punishment decided by the jury, instead of Judge Klein.
The jury members were specifically told that Alfaro hadn't committed any other felonies in the state of Texas or any other state and were then released for lunch.
The man that Alfaro attacked was present in court. According to Janet Cassels, a prosecutor with the Nacogdoches County District Attorney's Office, the man has suffered many physical issues because of Alfaro's attack, including difficulty walking
After the jury returned at 1 p.m., the prosecution and the defense gave their final arguments. Later, the jury will then deliberate and return with a punishment for Alfaro.
"This was a horrific act of violence, intended to kill a man," Cassels said.
Cassels said that Alfaro's children have been removed from his home because of family violence. She added the only way that the children's mother could get them back is if Alfaro left.
The prosecutor said the violence Alfaro inflicted on Juan Alvarez, the victim, was not the result of alcohol or drug abuse.
"Probation is not a suitable punishment for what he did to Juan," Cassels said.
Cassels asked the jury to sentence Alfaro to no less than two and no more than 20 years in prison for the crime. She also recommended a fine of no more than $10,000.
"Jose respects your verdict from yesterday," Heath said during his final arguments. "There is no doubt that the life of Juan Alvarez and his family has been changed, and it's tragic."
Heath argued that Alfaro acted in defense of his home, but he didn't act reasonably.
'"It matters whether somebody went out and chased somebody out in a parking lot in neutral ground," Heath said. "If you believe he had the right to defend himself in his home, but exceeded it, consider what they call mitigating circumstances."
Heath said Alfaro called Alvarez's wife and told her that Alvarez was cheating on her. He said Alvarez had been sending him threatening messages and that Alfaro was not the instigator in the incident.
According to a press release, the Nacogdoches Police Department received word at about 10:31 p.m. on Oct. 20, 2015, that the suspect in the machete attack was at the Nacogdoches County Law Enforcement Center wishing to surrender. At that point, NPD officers went to the county jail and arrested Alfaro on the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge.
He is accused of assaulting the 50-year-old man with a machete during a disturbance that occurred at a home in the 600 block of West Seale Street on Oct. 20, 2015.
The victim suffered numerous cuts to the head and body, along with a head injury, according to the police report. He was taken to a Nacogdoches hospital for treatment of his injuries.