In a story out of Texas, a man got high on cocaine and while he was under influence got into an argument with his pregnant girlfriend. During the course of the argument, he got angry and attacked her. He beat her up and then threatened her with a knife:
Jacob Pauda, who gained national attention for his heavily-tattooed mugshot, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison at the end of a weeklong bench trial before Judge John McClendon in the 137th District Court.
McClendon found Pauda, 31, guilty on Wednesday of a third-degree felony count of domestic assault with a prior conviction. Third-degree felonies carry a punishment range of two to 10 years in prison. However, a previous conviction for a 2003 aggravated assault enhanced his punishment range to a second-degree felony, which carries two to 20 years in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Laura Beth Fossett told McClendon that Pauda deserved the maximum sentence. She said Pauda’s actions that night and his criminal history showed he is a violent man who’s not only a threat to his own family but to the community as well.
She said the bruises Ramirez suffered detailed an aggressive assault that was also aimed at his unborn child.
“You don’t treat your family this way,” she said. “You don’t treat the mother of your children this way”
She showed McClendon a picture of a tattoo on Pauda’s stomach that read “Certified Gangsta.”
“He wants you to know who he is,” she told McClendon. “Mission accomplished.”
Pauda’s tattoos, which covered his his entire body, scalp and legs, were a prominent part of the the state’s case during the punishment phase of the trial.
An investigator with the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office gang unit testified that Pauda was a member of the Texas Tango Blast prison gang. He pointed out a majority of Pauda’s tattoos indicated affiliation with the gang.
However, in a pre-sentencing report, Pauda stated he was no longer a part of the the gang.
Before handing down the punishment, McClendon told Pauda he could not ignore his criminal history, particularly the aggravated assault conviction, when he decided his punishment.
“What I do see in regards to this is that it’s happened at least twice,” he said. “You’ve obviously had other issues that had brought you before this court and other courts. I can’t look past that.”
Mendez said after the trial that his client was remorseful and will write a letter of apology.
Mendez’s defense during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial focused on the allegation that Pauda chased Ramirez with a knife during his assault.
Ramirez told the court Pauda flew into a rage after an acquaintance teased him that she was being unfaithful to him.
On Tuesday, the court heard Ramirez’s desperate 911 call during which she told the dispatcher Pauda was intoxicated and took cocaine that night. A police report states she told investigators Pauda chased her with a butcher knife after beating her and kicking her in the stomach.
However, in court, Ramirez recounted Pauda’s attack that night but could not recall whether Pauda threatened her with a knife. She said she couldn’t recall if her statements to detectives and prosecutors included an allegation that Pauda pulled a knife on her. (source)