Man gets 15 years for hitting public defender

The Associated PressJuly 11, 2014 

— A California fugitive who hit his Montana public defender in the head during an extradition hearing, possibly causing permanent injuries, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Assistant Public Defender Erik Moore lashed out at David Anthony Aguilar Jr. in court Thursday, saying "people like you don't change" and "belong behind bars."

Aguilar, 33, had pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon for hitting Moore in the head with his handcuffed hands without warning during a video court appearance Jan. 21.

Moore testified that he has post-concussion syndrome and may have permanent injuries to his brain and eyes, which are sensitive to light, The Billings Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1kM9LJV ).

"I sure wish you would have come at me straight on, because you wouldn't be sitting there with your arms the way they are now, I guarantee you," Moore said.

Aguilar apologized, saying he becomes violent when he is high or coming down off drugs.

"Um, you're right to have that anger toward me," Aguilar said. "There's no excuse for my actions, and I ain't making none."

District Judge Mary Jane Knisely said the eight-year sentence recommended in the plea agreement wasn't long enough.

"The life-changing injuries that you inflicted on him are — they're horrible," Knisley said. She designated Aguilar a persistent felony offender and ordered him to pay $1,723 in restitution for vacation time Moore had to use while recovering from his injuries.

Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

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