A Las Vegas teen who strangled and sexually assaulted his teacher while asking about his grades after class smiled as he was sentenced to a minimum of 16 years in prison this week.
Jonathan Eluterio Martinez Garcia, 17, could remain behind bars for up to 40 years over the vicious April 2022 attack, where he attempted to cut his teacher’s wrists, then threatened to set her on fire as he crushed her beneath a heavy bookshelf.
His teacher, only identified as Sade, gave a harrowing statement at the sentencing, asking that Garcia be incarcerated as his assault left her “imprisoned” by anxiety and fear as she recalled in terrifying detail that she was convinced she would die at his hands.
She told the court during the Wednesday sentencing that she held no anger toward the teen because she’d felt “absolutely nothing” since he attacked her.
“It only makes sense that he, too, should be in prison for as long as possible,” Sade said, according to 8 News Now.
“I woke up in a different spot each time. He beat my body so badly that I couldn’t fight.”
She added that she wanted him locked up not “because I hate him or want any sort of suffering for him … but like I said, I just no longer feel those feelings,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Garcia previously pleaded guilty to attempted murder, battery with use of a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm, and attempted sexual assault, the outlet reported.
Though he apologized in court and said he regretted his actions, his attorney argued they were caused by an asthma drug he was taking, which caused severe mood swings and delusions.
On April 8, 2022, the then-16-year-old Eldorado High School student asked Sade if he could talk to her about his grades after class.
When the two were alone, he surprised her from behind and tried to strangle her with a “rope or string” before slamming her head against a table and knocking her out.
Sade told police that she came to and asked Garcia why he was attacking her, and he responded that he “didn’t like teachers” so he was “getting revenge.”
He then choked her unconscious, and when she awoke again she found her pants and underwear had been pulled down and Garcia was pouring liquid over her.
Police said he then told Sade he was going to “set something on fire” before toppling a heavy bookshelf over her and sitting down on top of it.
“One of the times I woke, I found myself trapped under heavy shelves that he toppled over me to where my breathing was suppressed, and I was being crushed to near death,” she told the court.
“I truly believed with everything in me that I was going to die right there under those shelves.”
As she was trapped under the shelves, Garcia tried to slash Sade’s wrists while he asked, “Can’t you die already?”
Though Garcia said he “blacked out” during the attack, he later told police he raped her and remembered trying to strangle her.
“I regret what I’ve done,” he told the court Wednesday.
“I also regret the things I should have done, but didn’t do.”
His attorney, public defender Tyler Gaston, told the court that Garcia’s violence was brought on by the side effects of his asthma medication, Singulair, which is also known as Montelukast.
‘He was no history of anything but being a perfect loving kid.’
Singulair’s manufacturer, Merck, is the focus of a number of lawsuits over severe mental health problems users have experienced.
“There’s no behavior we’re trying to alter or correct here, because the issue is resolved — he’s off Montelukast,” Gaston told the judge.
“So to dress up a prison sentence as punishment is just vengeance, it doesn’t change a thing for anybody.”
Disagreeing with Gaston, Judge Kathleen Delaney handed down the sentence with her opinion of Garcia’s actions.
“It is the most heinous type of crime there could be,” she said.