Thursday, July 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Garzon will serve 5 years for hate-crime beating

By
From page A1 | September 18, 2013 |

partidaW

Lawrence "Mikey" Partida, 32, of Davis, right, leaves the Yolo County Courthouse on Tuesday morning with prosecutor Jonathan Raven. Lauren Keene/Enterprise photo

WOODLAND — Clayton Daniel Garzon will receive a five-year prison term for the March beating of a gay man near downtown Davis, under a plea agreement announced in Yolo Superior Court on Tuesday after several weeks of negotiations between attorneys in the case.

The 20-year-old Davis resident pleaded no contest to a felony count of battery causing serious bodily injury, as well as an enhancement designating the attack a hate crime.

“You understand, Mr. Garzon, the court treats that as a guilty plea,” Judge David Rosenberg told Garzon, who replied, “Yes, Your Honor.”

After accepting the plea, Rosenberg vacated next week’s scheduled jury trial in the case and instead set a sentencing hearing for Oct. 30, at which time Garzon is expected to be taken into custody.

Garzon will serve his term at the Yolo County Jail as opposed to state prison, and with good behavior he’s likely to be released after serving half the sentence, his attorney Linda Parisi said.

But beating victim Lawrence “Mikey” Partida of Davis said he’s satisfied with the plea deal, which also calls for Garzon to pay restitution for Partida’s medical bills, lost wages and other expenses resulting from his injuries.

“It was pretty overwhelming,” Partida, 32, said after leaving the Woodland courthouse with prosecuting attorney Jonathan Raven.

“The priorities for us and for the family were the true nature of the crime — the severe beating and also the hate-crime enhancement,” Raven said. “We felt this was a very good resolution for Mikey and the family and for the people.”

Said Partida’s mother, Gloria Partida: “I think we are all at peace. That’s pretty much all you can ask for.”

In exchange for the plea, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed the remaining counts in the case, which included felony assault and criminal-threats charges.

Garzon will have a strike on his record, meaning any future felony conviction could result in a doubled sentence, Raven said.

The plea agreement also takes into account an assault case pending against Garzon in Solano County, where he was accused of taking part in a stabbing incident at a Dixon house party in September 2012. That case will be dismissed on a Harvey waiver, meaning it can still be considered in the restitution calculations.

“That case was a very challenging case for them (Solano County) — you could see by the way that case was moving very slowly,” Raven noted Tuesday.

Witnesses testified at a May preliminary hearing in the Davis case that Garzon hurled anti-gay slurs at Partida before and during the March 10 assault on I Street, where Partida was attending a party at his cousin’s house in honor of his 32nd birthday. Partida reportedly had left the area with another cousin, but was attacked after returning to the I Street house for a set of keys.

Prosecutors argued that Garzon was interested in Partida’s female cousin and, under the influence of alcohol, became enraged when Partida thwarted his efforts to speak to her as she left the party.

The beating left Partida hospitalized for two weeks with injuries including a fractured skull and bleeding to his brain, and he was required to undergo extensive rehabilitative therapy to regain his speech and motor skills.

Garzon and his family left the courthouse without comment following the brief court hearing. Parisi, his attorney, said her client agreed to the deal knowing he faced a much harsher sentence — as many as 14 years in prison — had the case gone to trial.

“Clearly there was an altercation between the two, and given the status of the evidence certainly there was a chance that he could be convicted,” Parisi said.

During the preliminary hearing she called witnesses including Garzon’s openly gay uncle who said his nephew had always been “protective” of him, as well as a linguistics expert who labeled the gay slurs a challenge to Partida’s masculinity.

Despite Garzon’s hate-crime admission, “he continues to maintain that while there is evidence suggesting a hate crime, he has never been motivated by any hate or bias to anyone as a result of sexual orientation,” Parisi said.

— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

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Discussion | 13 comments

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  • Fred HarveySeptember 17, 2013 - 10:27 am

    The plea bargain is a slap on the wrist and to add insult to injury, the thug will be housed in enlightened Ed Prieto's county jail. He deserves a much more brutish jail to match his own brutishness.

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  • Rich RifkinSeptember 17, 2013 - 2:05 pm

    Fred, it may seem to you to be a slap on the wrist, but the key point is that the Partida family believed it was a just punishment. I doubt the Yolo DA would have agreed to it without support from Mr. Partida and his family. ...... The real question is, upon release, will Mr. Garzon be a reformed person, able to live peacefully and productively in society? I don't know. I really cannot understand what makes a person do such terrible things (including the Dixon incident). But I do know that a great percentage of felons come out of prison (or jail) and are unable to get along in society and stay out of trouble. Hopefully, that will not be the case with Garzon. Hopefully, his years in jail will teach him a lesson and he will use that to better his life.

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  • FrancesSeptember 18, 2013 - 5:07 am

    Rich, We are a peaceful family and are happy to have resolution but to say we believe it is just may be going a bit too far.

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  • CeciliaSeptember 18, 2013 - 4:43 pm

    Fred, I too considered it a slap on the wrist. I think that the DA should have required Garzon to get some type of mental health help while in jail. Rich Rifkin - Like you, I don't know that drives a person to do such things, but it seems to me that Garzon does need some mental health help or he stands the chance of coming out of jail with more anger and more potential to cause injury once again. Garzon has not expressed any remorse for what he did and that concerns me. I hope he is able to get help and get to the root cause of what leads him to to commit these hateful acts. I wish the DA's office would have done more.

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  • Concerned CitizenSeptember 18, 2013 - 9:45 am

    You should change the headline to the real sentence - 2.5 years in the local jail. Amazing what money can buy you. Jail is jail, although prison might have been more appropriate.

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  • BobSeptember 18, 2013 - 9:19 pm

    So True. His parents buy away his problems. He'll do community service, do just enough to make himself look clean, and then his folks will buy off a judge to have his record expunged in a few years. It'll be like it never happened. He needs to be locked away with Bubba for a long time.

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  • Fred HarveySeptember 19, 2013 - 4:04 am

    Why would you inflict this scum on poor Bubba?

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  • RonSeptember 18, 2013 - 2:19 pm

    Wow!if you have money you walk.

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  • September 18, 2013 - 8:17 pm

    It is a misleading headline; It was agreed upon that he will only serve 2.5 years.

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  • Fred HarveySeptember 19, 2013 - 4:05 am

    What kind of sentence would this thug have received if the victim had been non-gay?

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  • gSeptember 19, 2013 - 5:20 pm

    You mean straight?

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  • Fred HarveySeptember 20, 2013 - 7:21 am

    I mean NON-GAY. I have no idea what straight means! Now perhaps you might enlighten us with your definition.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JimmySeptember 20, 2013 - 8:39 am

    Fred, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary one of the definitions of straight is heterosexual. So there you go, you learn something everyday.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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