Following two hours of deliberation, jurors returned with a split verdict in the trial of a man accused of attacking another man with a machete and then aiming a gun at him.
Saiejohn Huntsman, 35, of Roswell, was found guilty of one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, but not guilty on a second count of the same charge, after a trial Tuesday in the 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County.
In their verdict, the jury found Huntsman did not attack a man with a machete on the afternoon of March 4, 2019 at a 1200 block of North Washington Avenue residence. However, the jury did find Huntsman guilty on an assault charge related to the aiming of a gun at that same victim on that day.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 2. Matthew Stone, chief deputy district attorney for Chaves County and the prosecutor at the trial, said Huntsman could face up to two-and-a-half years on the assault charge.
Huntsman, acting as his own attorney at the trial, denied threatening anyone with a machete. He said he fought to defend himself and that the victim would not let him leave the house.
The victim testified that shortly before the incident, he, Huntsman and a small group of other people were smoking methamphetamine in the living room when Huntsman began reading from his Bible.
“He started talking about God and stuff like that, and all I said was, ‘Hey, you know, we are smoking meth, let’s not talk about all that,” he said.
The victim alleged Huntsman then punched him in the face and a physical altercation ensued. The other people at the scene fled the house to go get help.
The victim testified that while on the ground, he and Huntsman each tried to grab a nearby machete, but Huntsman secured it after biting him on the arm.
Huntsman, with the knife in hand, got on top of him, pointed the knife at him and ordered him to beg for his life, the victim said.
When some people came to the house to help, the victim said he ran out to seek help. He testified Huntsman then came out of the house, aimed a gun at him and threatened to shoot him. The victim said he responded by running back into the house.
Huntsman left the scene in a van with a female before police arrived. He was found and arrested by police days later.
Near the end of the trial, Huntsman took the stand to give his version of events.
Huntsman testified that before the incident happened, he had just come out of the shower when he walked into the living room and saw people using methamphetamine. He added he became nervous so he started reading from his Bible.
Huntsman said the victim told him to calm down and just when he was about to go, the victim would not let him leave.
“I said I am going to leave. He said, ‘I will make you stay,’” Huntsman recounted.
He said when he headed for the front door, the victim blocked him and threw the first punch. Huntsman said he sidestepped the victim and hit him back.
After falling, Huntsman said the victim grabbed him by the legs, picked him up and they both fell.
Huntsman said while trying to get the victim off of him, he saw him reaching down for what looked to be the machete. He added that he then bit the victim’s arm so he would let go of the machete, and the fighting continued.
Huntsman said he was able to wrest away the machete just as other people arrived on the scene, and one of the men who came produced a gun, before Huntsman hit him. Huntsman said he took the gun before leaving.
He added that he left because he was afraid the police would think he had been the aggressor.
Huntsman said when he had the gun pointed at the victim, he did so to show him that he had the gun, and that it was not meant as a threat against him.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at email@example.com.