A Tom Green County jury sentenced Gabel Barrera, 41, to 15 years confinement and fined him $10,000, after he plead guilty to a charge of intoxication assault with a vehicle.
In closing arguments Tuesday afternoon, the state asked the jury to look at each of the previous 10 charges in which Barrera was convicted.
“He’s had 10 chances to get his life together. He’s been to anger management, he’s been to rehab and each one was a chance to start over,” the state attorney said.
Some of Barrera’s previous convictions include drug possession, assault causing bodily harm and unlawfully carrying of a weapon.
Defense attorney Rae Leifeste asked the jury to consider Barrera’s testimony on the stand, where he repeatedly said “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
“When you look at some of these past charges you have to give them weight,” Leifeste said.
In court, Leifeste told the jury Barrera was young and a few guys were in a car when they were pulled over and all admitted to having the gun even though it was not Barrera’s. For the assault charge, Barrera took responsibility and served three years in confinement.
“He (Barrera) did chose to drink but he didn’t set out to hurt somebody, so the punishment should be different than someone who intentionally set out to cause harm,” Leifeste said.
The state responded by showing the jury a long list of the crimes Barrera has committed, telling the jury that the past behavior is the best predictor for future behavior.
The jury left to deliberate at approximately 2:15 p.m. Tuesday.
ORIGINAL STORY: Monday marked the first day in a jury trial for the punishment phase in a case for Gabel Barrera, 41, who pleaded guilty to a charge of intoxication assault with a vehicle in connection to a collision that happened on Feb. 6, 2015.
According to court documents, San Angelo Police Officer Joshua Loudermilk responded to a vehicle collision at the intersection of East Harris Avenue and Emerson Street at 6:15 p.m. the evening of the incident. After speaking with a witness, the officer learned a black Chevrolet Impala, driven by Barrera, was traveling south on Emerson, ran through a stop sign at East Harris and collided with a red Chrysler 300.
In court the state’s attorney told jurors that witnesses to the collision worked to remove Barrera from the Impala, once freed, they worked to remove the victim from her vehicle. While they were assisting the victim, the Impala burst into flames. Barrera then fled the scene on foot.
While police were working the scene of the collision a call came in to SAPD of an intoxicated unconscious person at an apartment complex, 301 N. Main St. at 7:45 p.m. Officer Jeff Fisher found Barrera passed out in the parking lot of the complex. Officers tried to administer a sobriety test but Barrera was unable to perform the tasks. Barrera’s identification card was found at the scene of the wreck, leading officers to know they had the man responsible for the collision in custody.
The victim in the collision was taken to Shannon Medical Center where she underwent surgery for a ruptured lower and upper intestines, she also sustained several broken bones.
Barrera plead guilty to the charge of intoxication assault with a vehicle but chose a jury to decide his sentence.
Barrera’s conviction was enhanced to a second degree felony charge because of a prior conviction. A second degree felony is punishable by two-10 years in confinement and a fine up to $10,000.
Jail records show Barrera is currently an inmate in the Tom Green County Jail.