Sunday, April 13, 2008

Don't mess up in Comal County

Good verdict for the State.

Jury sentences man to 60 years
By Mitzie Stelte

A Comal County jury found a Sattler man guilty of burglary of a habitation with intent to commit aggravated assault Thursday and sentenced him to 60 years in prison and fined $6,000.Gary Neil Matney II broke into his ex-girlfriend’s Canyon Lake home, struck her mother with a metal rod and made death threats. Matney also was charged with the second degree felony offense of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and the third degree felony offense of retaliation, but was acquitted of these charges.

The sentence could have been anywhere from five years to life for the first degree felony offense, said Assistant Criminal District Attorney Steven de Lemos. “This was a very, very serious case,” de Lemos said. “I believe the jury saw what we saw. We truly felt that if he got out, someone would die. “Matney was represented by defense attorneys Atanacio Campos and Mark Clark. Campos did not return a call Friday and Clark refused comment.

The jury heard 911 tapes of glass shattering as Matney broke the windows of the victim’s home with a metal rod and reached in to unlock the door.The ex-girlfriend's mother forced down a restraining bar to keep the door closed to protect her three grandchildren, including one of Matney’s children. During this time, he kicked the door, struck her with the metal rod and made death threats.

At the time of the incident, Matney was under court-ordered conditions of bond to stay away from his ex-girlfriend and her residence. Neighbors chased Matney away and members of the Comal County Sheriff’s Department apprehended him at gunpoint.

While being transported to the county jail, Matney, who also had a prior conviction for retaliation against New Braunfels Police Officer Sgt. McDonald, threatened the lives of law enforcement personnel, which was shown as video evidence to the jury.