Man convicted of assaulting Columbia County sheriff's deputy escorted out of court before sentencing

Article author: 
Maxine Bernstein
Article publisher:
Article date: 
Monday, April 11, 2016
Article category: 
Article Body: 

While awaiting trial for allegedly slashing a fellow inmate with a metal can lid at the federal prison in Sheridan, Leonel Marin attacked a Columbia County sheriff's deputy in jail.

On Monday, a judge sentenced Leonel Marin-Torres to four years and three months in prison for assaulting the Columbia County sheriff's deputy in 2014...

"The defendant blindsided and attacked an officer in jail without warning," said U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez. "As we've seen in court multiple times, Mr. Marin-Torres is extraordinarily volatile and unable to control his impulses.''

Marin-Torres, 46, had argued for least 20 minutes against the proposed sentence. He said he was treated poorly in custody because of his race...
"I am not guilty," Marin-Torres declared through a Spanish interpreter.

After listening for nearly half an hour, the judge tried to cut off Marin-Torres. "OK, that's enough," Hernandez said.

Marin-Torres continued to shout out, as two deputy marshals lifted Marin-Torres out of his chair at the defense table and held him with his hands behind his back.

"I want to leave now,'' Marin-Torres shouted. "I do not want to be here."

"I've asked you to calm down," the judge responded.

Marin-Torres tried to walk toward the door to the court lockup on his own, but the deputy marshals escorted him out of the courtroom.

"Mr. Marin-Torres lost control .... He's been told numerous times that he must stop and calm down...
Then Hernandez delivered the sentence.

Marin-Torres was serving a 16-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan for a drug-trafficking and firearms conviction out of Seattle when he fashioned a metal can lid into a sharp weapon and "viciously slashed'' another inmate on Dec. 23, 2012, according to federal prosecutors.

The other inmate had been sitting at a computer terminal in a common area of their housing unit, then walked past Marin-Torres. That's when Marin-Torres slashed his neck and head. The victim suffered cuts to his neck and ear, required treatment at Willamette Valley Community Hospital and reconstructive surgery, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Nyhus.

While Marin-Torres was being held on federal charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, assault resulting in serious bodily injury and possessing contraband in prison, he was accused of assaulting a Columbia County sheriff's deputy in jail on July 21, 2014.

Marin-Torres was later sentenced to eight years in prison for the assault on his fellow inmate after a jury found him guilty.

He went to trial on the deputy's assault case and was removed from the courtroom because of similar outbursts. That jury convicted him of assaulting the officer.

When a Columbia County sheriff's deputy opened a holding cell that Marin-Torres was in, Marin-Torres "lunged at him, striking him with a closed fist,'' Nyhus wrote in a sentencing memo.

The deputy took Marin-Torres to the ground and a struggle ensued. "During the ensuing struggle to contain defendant's dervish behavior, defendant dug his nails'' into the deputy's face and neck, breaking skin and drawing blood, Nyhus wrote.

Monday's sentence will run consecutive to his prior sentences.

According to court records, Marin-Torres was paroled into the United States on a humanitarian visa in 1995 from Cuba, his native country. In April 1996, he was sentenced for delivery of cocaine in Seattle. He escaped from a prison camp in September of that year, complaining that the "capitalist American system" had enslaved him.

He was then convicted of escape and sentenced to nine more months in prison in January 1997. In March 2013, he was convicted of possession of cocaine, carrying a firearm in relation to drug-trafficking for delivery of cocaine and felon in possession of a firearm in federal court in Washington and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

A Thomas Jefferson quote adorns the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland. On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez had a defendant removed from his courtroom due to his outbursts, before sentencing the 46-year-old man to more than four years in prison for assaulting a Columbia County sheriff's deputy. (Bryan Denson/The Oregonian)