A Liberty County jury found Jorge Pineda Guzman, 39, guilty of Aggravated Assault-Family Violence with a Deadly Weapon Causing Serious Bodily Injury and sentenced him to a term of life in prison on Aug. 16, 2023. The Honorable Judge Chap Cain, 253rd Judicial District Court, presided over the three-day trial.
District Attorney Jennifer L. Bergman and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Washington presented evidence that on July 25, 2021, Jorge Pineda Guzman violently attacked his ex-girlfriend, at her home. The victim testified that Guzman arrived at her home intoxicated and entered the home despite her protests and commands that he could not come inside.
After entering the home, the victim testified that Guzman attacked her, ripped her clothes from her body, broke her cellphone, and repeatedly hit her with a wooden broomstick. The victim further testified she was knocked to the ground and was forced to defend herself by placing her arms in from of her face and chest.
The assault was so violent that the broomstick Guzman was using in the attack broke into pieces and he grabbed a second broomstick and commenced beating her and ultimately broke that broomstick as well. The victim testified that she kicked him away and took off running out of the front door. She recounted that she ran into the darkness of the unlit yard, screaming for help and trying to reach the one streetlight in the distance. She stated that her closest neighbor turned off their porchlight after hearing her calls for help.
The victim further recounted for the jurors that Guzman continued to pursue her in the yard and down the street, striking her repeatedly as she ran for help. Eventually she tripped and fell face down into the ditch not far from her home as Guzman stood over her, looking for movement. Through tears, the victim told the jury that she realized that in order to survive, she had to act like she was dead. As ants were biting her, she did not move nor cry out in pain as Guzman stood over her and watched for any signs of life.
Eventually, Guzman returned to the victim’s home, leaving her naked and beaten in a ditch next to the roadway. The victim stated that she blacked out or lost consciousness at some point but eventually army crawled to the only house with a light on outside. She knocked on the door of a neighboring home who heard her cries for help. The neighbor testified that she opened the door to find the victim on her porch, beaten and naked, and immediately offered her a blanket to cover her body and called for help.
Officers from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the neighbor’s home, and Deputy Noe Chavez testified at trial regarding the injuries he observed on the body of the victim and what she informed him had occurred. On the stand, Deputy Chavez counted over 16 strikes caused by the broomstick to the victim’s back alone. Realizing that she needed immediate medical attention, Deputy Chavez called for an ambulance and the victim was taken to the hospital. Deputy Chavez stated that he and another deputy located the victim’s home and observed Guzman sleeping and observed broken pieces of the broomsticks scattered throughout the room. Deputy Chavez and his partner woke Guzman and arrested him for the assault.
At trial, photographs of the beaten and battered body of the victim were admitted into evidence and the jury heard testimony from one of the doctors that attended to her injuries. Additional injuries she suffered were a broken arm and a fractured elbow, one of which required surgical intervention and the placement of a metal rod in her forearm to regain movement. After the State rested, the jury rendered their verdict of guilty.
In the punishment phase, the State presented the criminal history of Guzman, which including a 2012 conviction for Driving While Intoxicated in Harris County, a 2012 conviction for Assault Family Violence in Harris County, a 2022 Conviction for Driving While Intoxicated 2nd out of Montgomery County, and a 2022 conviction for Assault Bodily Injury out of Harris County.
The jury also heard testimony from the victim in the 2012 domestic violence assault wherein she recounted the beating she suffered at the hands of Guzman. Lastly, the jury heard testimony from the victim who recounted how this has changed and destroyed much of her life and the permanent damage done to her body as a result of the assault.
During closing arguments, District Attorney Jennifer L. Bergman, stated “It is important to send a message to every single abuser in our county that this will not be tolerated here, and I ask you to send that message and send him to prison for a term of life….He’s shown us who he is and what he is willing to do to other people, and now is your opportunity to show him what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in our community.”
Nicole Washington argued the horrific facts of this case during closing, for the safety of the community, and the prevention of future victims as it was clear that Guzman had not learned from his past. Thereafter, the jury retired to deliberate and quickly returned a verdict of a term of life in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“By their sentence, the jury showed their understanding that Jorge Pineda Guzman posed an immediate threat not only to the citizens of this community, but also to those surrounding. For that, we should all rest more peacefully,” Washington said.
“Jorge Pineda Guzman posed a clear and present danger to every member of our community. The office of the Liberty County District Attorney is the barrier between violent offenders and the citizens of our community. I am thankful that we have officers like Noe Chavez, paramedics like Diane Cheek, and neighbors like the one who testified here, were all willing to do their part in ensuring the safety of our victim and also ensuring that Jorge Pineda Guzman will never again walk our streets,” Bergman said. “Further, I want to express my gratitude to the jurors who understood the importance of their decision when they handed down their verdict the life sentence the defendant so clearly deserved. Most importantly, I want to commend both victims for coming forward and having the courage and strength to face their abuser and tell their story. It is my hope that their strength will encourage others to come forward and speak the truth.”