HOUMA, La. – A jury convicted a 36-year-old Houma man who another man to death with a pool cue.
The Courier reports the panel spent an hour untangling of conflicting testimony given by witnesses who saw Walter Rosario attack 33-year-old Antonio Aguado Jr. on Sept. 18, 2016 at the Las Amigas Latinas bar in Houma. The jury found Rosario guilty Wednesday of second-degree murder.
Rosario lowered his head and cried after the verdict was read.
Terrebonne Parish Deputy Coroner Charles Ledoux told the jury the size and shape of the wound, in the near Aguado’s ear, was consistent with a pool cue, and that the object went almost halfway up his head.
Some witnesses testified they saw Rosario thrust of the pool cue in Aguado’s head in an unprovoked attack, while others said that the victim had a fight.
The problem started after Aguado came with a group of friends and gathered in the vicinity of a table, where Rosario’s girlfriend, Katherine Bautista, was, according to testimony. Bautista testified that Aguado was harassing her by looking at her and tries her to drink with him. Others said he had only said “cheers” to her.
Multiple witnesses say Aguado appeared to be intoxicated, and a toxicology report found his blood alcohol concentration .237.
Rosario told jurors he went over to talk Aguado and asked him to not disrespect Bautista, who he sees as his wife. The men shake each other’s hand, ” he said.
When he went back to the pool table, Rosario said, Aguado rushed at him with a raised fist. He testified that he only tried to block the hit and defend. But others said: Rosario thrust of the pool cue on Aguado as the victim was leaving.
“I had no intention to hurt (anyone),” Rosario said with a Spanish-speaking translator. “I did not know that he was going to die.”
Rosario gave himself over to the police the following day, authorities said. They found half of a broken pool cue on the scene, but the pointed end was never recovered.
Assistant district Attorney Chris Erny interviewed Rosario, who worked as a police officer in Puerto Rico before moving to Louisiana, the baton and defensive tactics training that he had undergone in his previous work.
Erny presented in a graph, that Rosario indicated was similar to the one he had seen during the training. It turned out the level of trauma someone would experience when struck on different parts of the body. A number of areas, including the spinal cord, the neck and the head, are marked in red to indicate a hit in those areas can lead to serious injury or death.
Erny asked Rosario if, on the basis of its training directives, an officer would strike someone on the red areas of the body.
“At no time,” he replied through the translator.
Erny argued Rosario had used lethal force when it is not needed.
“Training causes muscle memory,” Erny said during his closing argument. “He’s dealt with drunken people before. He has never killed anyone. Why now? Because he wanted to.”
Rosario’s lawyer, Timothy Ellender, Jr., fought it was a reflexive act with the preservation of his life.
“It was completely instinctive, defensive and, frankly, without any thought,” he said.
Ellender said that he plans to file an appeal.
The second degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence in Louisiana, without the possibility of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
“It is a hard saying,” Erny said after the trial. “But I think it’s a fair statement.”
Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com