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Huntsman sentenced on assault charge

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A man convicted of aggravated assault for pulling a gun on another man during a physical altercation will spend the next two and a half years in prison.

Saiejohn Huntsman, 35, of Roswell, was sentenced at an April 2 hearing in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court to 18 months in prison on one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The sentence was enhanced by one year because of a prior felony conviction, according to Matthew Stone, chief deputy district attorney for Chaves County.

District Judge James Hudson found the crime constituted a serious violent offense, meaning Huntsman will have to serve at least 85% of his sentence, Stone said.

The sentencing came nearly a month after Huntsman’s March 10 criminal trial on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a March 4, 2019 incident.

Jurors returned after two hours of deliberation in the trial with a split verdict finding Huntsman not guilty of attacking a man with a machete during a physical confrontation, but guilty of aiming a gun at that same man.

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When taking the stand at Huntsman’s trial, the victim stated he, Huntsman and a small group of other people were smoking methamphetamine at his house on the afternoon of the incident.

The victim testified at the trial that Huntsman punched him in the face, leading to a physical altercation. Others in the house then fled the scene to get help.

The victim later testified that when they were on the ground fighting both he and Huntsman tried reaching for a machete, but that Huntsman was able to secure it after biting his arm. He said Huntsman then got on top of him and ordered him to beg for his life.

Soon the people who had fled to get help returned, and the victim later testified that he ran out of the house, but Huntsman followed him and at one point aimed a gun at him.

Huntsman then left the scene in a van but was arrested by police days later.

Huntsman, who represented himself at the trial, took the stand. In his testimony he alleged the victim initiated the physical confrontation and that he acted in self-defense.

He said that he had just stepped out of the shower when he saw the victim and other people smoking methamphetamine in the living room. He denied smoking methamphetamine himself.

Huntsman said he tried to leave but the victim blocked him and threw the first punch. Huntsman added that he then sidestepped the victim and hit him back, and they were soon on the ground fighting.

In his testimony, Huntsman said that while he was trying to get the victim off him, he saw the victim reach for what seemed to be a machete and was able to wrest it away by biting the victim’s arm.

Huntsman said right when he got the machete, other people arrived on the scene and one of the men produced a gun. Huntsman then hit the man and took the gun from him before leaving the house.

Huntsman said when he had the gun pointed at the victim, it was to show him that he had a gun and was not intended as a threat.

He added that he left the scene before police arrived because he worried police would think he had been the aggressor.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

 

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