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Judge, not jury, to sentence Tinoco

Published On: Apr 14 2014 12:32:55 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 08 2014 01:48:03 PM CDT
EL PASO, Texas -

Judge Luis Aguilar will be sentencing Miguel Tinoco and not the jury that convicted Tinoco last week of four charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Tinoco asked that Aguilar sentence him

Aguilar will be conducting an investigation prior to the sentencing.

Tinoco on April 11 was found not guilty of murder but the jury was not able to come to a decision on the charge of criminal negligent homicide. The prosecution on April 11 asked for a mistrial on that charge but on Monday it was not immediately clear what happened with that charge.

Tinoco allegedly plowed his car into a crowd outside a house party in El Paso's lower valley in July 2012.

Standing in the crowd of party guests was Miriam Aguirre, 23, who died. Four others were injured.

Tinoco allegedly got into an argument with a neighbor after Tinoco was seen urinating on their lawn. Witnesses said the neighbor punched Tinoco in the face.

Through out the week, witnesses who were at the party took the stand including the brother of a victim who was hit, Ray Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said he saw about 20 neighbors across the street who were angry. They stood outside the home where the party was going on.

He said there were no problems at the party until neighbors started complaining and eventually led to the altercation with Tinoco.

Prosecutor Myrna Pages said Tinoco's act was intentional because after he was punched in the face, he formed intent in his mind and got into his car.

Pages said Tinoco was aware of the people standing there.

"Alcohol was not poured down his throat. He acted like an adult driving and should be held accountable as an adult after crashing into the crowd," said Pages.

Tinoco's attorney, Tom Hughes, said his client was too intoxicated to perceive the risk of his actions.

He added Tinoco is not blameless, even called him a "stupid kid that got drunk".

Hughes said Juan Martinez, who threw the party for his son should also be held responsible because he provided the alcohol.

Hughes claimed witnesses were protecting the Martinez family.

"This was a train wreck looking for a place to jump the tracks in the middle of the street, which it did, with my client," said Hughes.

Hughes questioned why Tinoco's friend, Elrick Ramirez was not facing charges. Ramirez was in the car with Tinoco at the time of the incident.

Ramirez testified and told jurors he was driving Tinoco's car when they arrived to the party and held on to Tinoco's keys.

When Tinoco got punched in the face, he took the keys from Ramirez and they both got into the car.

"What's right is to convict him (Tinoco) of criminal negligent homicide," said Hughes. The charge carries a lesser sentence.

Prosecutor Ray Duke then argued, "It's a crime what he (Tinoco) did that night, it was an intentional crime. The blame lies here with this man."

Duke described the injuries of the four victims, Cristian Escapite, Javier Montez, Kevin Rodriguez and David Rodriguez.

He then showed the courtroom a photo of a deceased Miriam Aguirre.

"She deserves justice, do the right thing," Duke told the jury.

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