Sentencing for baseball bat assault

‘A civilized society doesn't live that way’

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 5/15/24

TORRINGTON – All who were present at the Goshen County District Courtroom rose to their feet as Judge Edward J. Buchanan entered the room for the sentencing of two Torrington individuals.

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Sentencing for baseball bat assault

‘A civilized society doesn't live that way’


TORRINGTON – All who were present at the Goshen County District Courtroom rose to their feet as Judge Edward J. Buchanan entered the room for the sentencing of two Torrington individuals.

Goshen County and Prosecuting Attorney, Eric Boyer, was present in representing the state’s prosecution for both cases including Harley Feagler on one felony count of child endangerment, and Jesus Martinez for one felony count of aggravated assault.

Public defense attorney Denny Harts was present in representing counsel for Feagler, while Cheyenne attorney Joe Bustos was performing defense duties for Martinez.

The proceedings began with a focus on Feagler’s case, in which a plea agreement had been met between both the defense and the state’s prosecution.

It should be noted Feagler had been charged originally with two counts of child endangerment last September; having allowed two small children to occupy a household where methamphetamine was being possessed, stored, or ingested.

“I do believe it to be appropriate given the charges in this case,” Harts began before the court. “There was a plea agreement where the state had agreed to dismiss one count if she pleaded guilty to another. She has been working programs with the Department of Family Services (DFS), has gotten her kids back full-time, and is doing very well. She has one other charge on her entire criminal history. Obviously, being very young we certainly agree a deferral would be the best option in this case. With her progress, accountability, and doing what she needs to do I think probation would be most appropriate.”

As the state’s prosecution chose to sit in silence for any further comments, judge Buchanan addressed the defendant one final time before handing down the court’s sentence.

“With mitigating circumstances, I read you have received your Associate of Science in cosmetology,” Buchanan stated. “In reading your pre-sentence investigation report, I felt you were very honest about your past as it related to controlled substances, and along with that I find you to be accountable. As Mr. Harts mentioned, you really do have minimal criminal history. Obviously, this is your first felony. On the aggravating side due to the seriousness of the offense and the age of your children, I would say it is a fairly high level and involves a dangerous controlled substance in the presence of children. Your children are at their parent’s mercy when it comes to what they are exposed to, behaviors they see and the role modeling you provide whether it be positive or negative.

“The court is going to defer proceedings in this case,” Buchanan continued. “I’m not going to enter your guilty plea but will hold that in advance. You will be placed on three years of supervised probation, will report to the court two times a year with any violations of law and you will be required to abide by all terms and conditions. I would close by saying I hope you understand the opportunity that you are being given, and I think you do because of your cooperation with DFS and doing all the things you have done. I feel like you have earned the opportunity, but here’s the thing. It’s a big hammer over your head because it is a felony. One of the other big things is you have two young children, you have a cosmetology license and everyone wants to see you successfully earn a living to support your family and have an otherwise happy, healthy, and productive life. This is your opportunity. If you fail you fall all the way to the bottom. If you are brought back here, then I’ve got the guilty plea already and would enter the felony conviction. That’s what you have hanging over your head. I believe you will make the most of this opportunity. That’s why I’m giving it to you. Not only for yourself but for your children because they deserve that. They don’t deserve any of this.”

The court moved on to the sentencing of Martinez, who was charged last June for participating in an assault of Torrington man, Juan DeLeon.

Martinez, along with two other family members, Fabien and Miklo, had followed DeLeon to his residential neighborhood, chased him down, and assaulted him with baseball bats.

DeLeon was taken for emergency care due to blunt-force trauma to the head.

The court heared statements from state prosecution in light of Martinez’s entrance of an Alford plea. 

No plea agreement had been made between Martinez’s defense and the state of Wyoming.

Boyer addressed the court and defendant, citing although Martinez had accepted some responsibility for his actions, his refusal to testify against co-defendants signifies a lack of accountability still.

“I suggest the Alford plea was naturally, given Mr. Martinez dropped his wallet at the scene of the crime which was found by one of the eyewitnesses,” Boyer stated. “Given that I suggest the question of accepting responsibility is somewhat murky here in this case, as it is pretty clear Mr. Martinez would like the court to think of it as justice for his family. I would refer to it as simply vigilante action well outside the scope of what’s permissible or appropriate in a civilized society. I suggest the defendant and society give Mr. Martinez a term of supervised probation for what should be a lengthy underlying suspended sentence to ensure he and the public, in general, know this is a serious action for an alleged familial dispute. It cannot be dealt with in this matter and is highly inappropriate.”

After hearing final statements once again from the prosecution, judge Buchanan turned his focus a second time to the defendant just prior to handing down sentencing.

Buchanan spoke firmly with words of both understanding and functional accountability, echoing the argument of prosecuting attorney Boyer.

“You really have to stop and think there was a group of yours who chased another person down,” Buchanan said to the defendant. “There was something that made you angry and it’s understandable. But as we also know it doesn’t justify someone else taking action against someone else. That may be what works in a world uncivilized outside the law or outside the courtroom, but a civilized society doesn’t live that way. If something had happened to a family member causing you to be angry, the incident should have been investigated or reported so that person would be held accountable for what someone did to a family member of yours. It sounds like what happened to make you angry was a crime. I can understand someone being angry, but I cannot accept for any justification what you did in this case.

“You had an agreement to chase someone down in a car,” Buchanan continued. “Not only did you chase them down, but you beat them with a bat. I will tell you going into this, a violent felony this is a 10-year felony, and under certain circumstances, you could look at maybe a 6–8-year sentence in prison.”

As judge Buchanan finished his statements towards the defendant, Martinez received a suspended sentence of no more than seven and no less than five years in a state correctional facility. Martinez, would however, be sentenced to serve nine months in county jail to begin immediately.

“So I hope you understand you are going to do some time but you are not going to prison,” Buchanan stated. “The seriousness of this demands you serve some period of incarceration. I hope after that period of time, you will be able to prove to the court you are worthy of probation and you can do good things with your life. Now Mr. Martinez your bond is served, and you will be remanded into custody.” 

The court stood in recess at 2:31 p.m.