A former student at a Las Vegas area school accepted a plea deal for reduced charges after being arrested for the strangulation and sexual assault of a teacher.
Jonathan Martinez Garcia, 17, pleaded guilty to attempted murder, attempted sexual assault, and battery with the use of a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm, reported local media.
Previously, Martinez Garcia faced eight separate charges related to the attack, the majority of which have been dropped in return for the plea deal.
The assault took place during the meeting where Martinez Garcia was talking with the teacher about some missing assignments.
During the assault, the student choked the teacher with a rope or a string, according to police reports. He then pushed a bookcase on top of her and sat on the bookcase, reported the Las Vegas Review Journal.
The student admitted to police that he liked this particular teacher, but he didn’t like teachers in general and was doing it to get revenge.
“I don’t know why I attacked her, she was good to me,” the student told detectives.
Although Martinez Garcia was a minor at the time of the assault, he was charged as an adult due to the severity of the attack. Court proceedings found him competent to stand trial.
Predictably, the local teachers’ union appeared to blame the system rather than the student for the assault.
“We have to have zero tolerance for offenses like the ones Garcia plead guilty to today, but our ultimate goal should be that these types of crimes never come to pass,” said a statement by the Clark County Education Association, according to local News 3 Las Vegas.
“We can start by creating a culture deterrence in our schools, but we also need the state to invest in the behavioral and mental health wraparound services that our most violent and disruptive students need and ensure districts have all the resources necessary to implement the legislation we pass,” it added.
The union represents 18,000 teachers in Clark County, Nevada, and its arguments mirror those in Las Vegas who have called for removing police resource officers from schools.
Tyler Gaston, Martinez Garcia’s attorney, initially argued there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Martinez Garcia with sexual assault. The court disagreed, setting the stage for the plea agreement.
The prosecutors will ask for the maximum sentence of up to 55 years. Gaston said he will argue for probation, but ultimately the sentence will be decided by the judge.
The assault also prompted Nevada’s Republican Governor Joe Lombardo to introduce legislation to enhance teacher safety.
“Sade is not the first victim of heinous and horrific school violence, but we are fighting to make her one of the last,” Lombardo said at an event announcing the initiative.
The teacher who was assaulted joined the governor at the event.