by BRAD ROLLINS
After about 16 hours of deliberation, a Hays County jury today returned with 14 guilty verdicts for the Dripping Springs man who repeatedly bit, beat, starved and otherwise abused his three children.
Cesar Mojica Carmona, 24, faces up to 99 years for each of the convictions on felony injury to a child. After hearing three and a half days of testimony, jurors began deciding the case Tuesday afternoon. Most media onlookers were expecting verdicts that afternoon but no d.ecision was reached before District Judge Jack Robison recessed at 5 p.m. The jury stayed in deliberations all day Wednesday and started again this morning.
On Monday Carmona testified that he was regularly hit by his grandparents while being raised in Mexico and later by his mother when they emigrated to the United States. As an adult, he said, he often drank to the point of unconsciousness and did not remember causing many of the injuries investigators found on his four-year-old daughter and three-year-old fraternal twins.
Even in opening statements, defense attorney Will Holgate conceded his client had harmed his children but asked jurors to consider lesser charges that conceivably could ended in probation for Carmona. He told the Austin American-Statesman after the trial that he considered the jury’s lengthy deliberations as a sign that jurors considered the lesser charges.
Carmona’s wife, Sara Amaya, is awaiting trial on 15 similar charges. The three children, in addition to one born after Carmona and Amaya’s arrest, remain in foster care.
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