|Guilty pleas entered in beating, drug charges|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
Oct. 26, 2005 -- An unusual series of events in Hopkins County's 8th Judicial District Court Tuesday afternoon resulted in a plea bargain deal involving a near-fatal beating, felony marijuana possession charges and delivery of marijuana charges.
Juan Alvarez, 28, had been scheduled to appear before State District Judge Robert Newsom in an attempt to have bonds set on two drug-related charges.
Newsom was expected to deny bond because Alvarez was already out on bond on another felony offense, according to District Attorney Martin Braddy.
�This is a unique scenario, considering the fact our Constitution guarantees a bond for all criminal cases,� Braddy said. �This was one of those exceptions.�
Prior to the start of the bond hearing, Alvarez and his attorney, Steve Simmons of Pittsburg, met with Braddy to discuss the charges and the possibility of bond being denied.
During the closed-door session, Alvarez decided to plead guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon along with the drug charges.
�He decided to plead guilty and accept responsibility for that and to provide evidence and provide it to the court,� the district attorney said.
The terms of the plea agreement specified a 20-year prison sentence on the aggravated assault charge, 10 years for possession of marijuana and two years for delivery of marijuana. In each case, the sentences were the maximums allowed under the law and will run concurrently.
Because of the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge, Alvarez must serve at least 7 1/2 years before becoming eligible for parole.
He must also face a motion to adjudicate deferred probation on a drug-related offense in Rains County.
Alvarez, “known locally as the leader of the [drug] organization” according to Braddy, was arrested at the culmination of a lengthy undercover investigation into a large-scale marijuana operation last week. At the time of the arrest, Alvarez was free on bond in connection with the near-fatal beating of Marcus Allen Vaughn (also known by the last name Wells) almost a year ago.
Alvarez was one of eight people indicted in connection with the incident. Five others have already plead guilty to the charges and are serving various sentences.
Braddy said Alvarez provided additional information on the beating during the plea-bargaining session.
�One of the keys to Mr. Alvarez has been he had connections with the person that arranged for this [beating] and the person that formulated this plan to begin with -- that being Damien Jolly,� Braddy explained. �He had contact with that individual that other people did not have, and he was able to fill in some of the gaps as to how this thing was planned, carried out and the circumstances that led to it.�
The information provided prosecutors with confirmation for what they suspected had led to the beating. The cases against Jolly and Juan Carlos Gonzalez Garcia will now move forward, according to Braddy.
The district attorney said information uncovered through the investigation along with that received from Alvarez indicated that Alvarez had been set up to attack Marcus Wells Vaughn.
�The facts that we have heard so far and the testimony we heard from Mr. Alvarez was that the victim [Vaughn] had allegedly reported one of the individuals that arranged for this, Mr. Jolly, ... to Child Protective Services,� Braddy said. �In retaliation for that, there was a conspiracy planned to have the children allege that Mr. Vaughn had done something to Mr. Alvarez' children who, at the time, were living with Mr. Jolly.�
Braddy said there was no indication any children had been molested.
�Mr. Jolly and his wife ... were fully aware of what Mr. Alvarez was capable of and they absolutely intended this [assault] would take place -- that [Alvarez] would become angry to the point of violence that would result in death,� Braddy explained. �This was all done to get back at Mr. Vaughn for allegedly having called CPS on Jolly.�
After entering guilty pleas and receiving sentencing, Alvarez, with tears in his eyes, repeatedly told Vaughn's family he was truly sorry for the injuries he had caused.
Armed with the additional information regarding Damien Jolly and Juan Garcia, the district attorney said his office would begin an aggressive prosecution of the two.