Man sentenced for 2013 Leadville assault that left victim with brain damage
April 24, 2017
A Leadville man was sentenced to 60 days in jail with work release and four years of probation by a Summit County judge on Monday, April 24. Santiago "Chago" Martinez maintains his innocence, but a jury found him guilty in March of third-degree assault for his role in an alleged bar fight that left a man with severe brain damage.
The incident occurred in 2013 but the trial was held last month after two mistrials in both Lake and Summit counties. The jury acquitted Martinez of felony second-degree assault, opting instead for the lesser and included misdemeanor assault charge.
The prosecution argued for two years in jail during a sentencing hearing on Monday, emphasizing the severity of the victim's injuries. The defense requested leniency, noting that Martinez maintains his innocence and is appealing the case. They cast him as a family man and devoted father, and more than a dozen people sat on his side of the courtroom, sometimes visibly expressing frustration as the prosecutor Johnny Lombardi reviewed the allegations in the case.
Lombardi cast Martinez as a serial offender who had racked up multiple charges over the years, including assault.
District Court Judge Mark Thompson ultimately delivered a light sentence, citing the somewhat thin evidence presented at trial and absence of eyewitness testimony.
"The question remains, quite frankly, unsolved," Thompson said. "In some respects the evidence is very limited."
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The defense requested that Martinez's sentence be delayed pending the results of his appeal, but Thompson declined. Martinez will serve his time in the Summit County jail.
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