Teen Sentenced to at Least 16 Years in Prison for Brutal Attack on Teacher in Nevada

Teen Sentenced to at Least 16 Years in Prison for Brutal Attack on Teacher in Nevada
A file photograph of a judge's gavel. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

A teenager was sentenced to 16 to 40 years in Nevada state prison on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty in April to various charges following a plea deal that avoided trial for having brutally attacked a high school teacher in 2022.

Jonathan Martinez Garcia was 16 when he carried out the brutal after-school attack on the teacher at Eldorado High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. The school serves about 2,000 students several miles east of downtown Las Vegas.

As part of the plea deal, Martinez Garcia pleaded guilty in April to attempted murder, attempted sexual assault, and battery with the use of a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm. He faced another 12 felony charges, but they were dropped.

Prosecutors asked Clark County District Court Judge Kathleen Delaney on Wednesday to sentence Martinez Garcia to 22 to 55 years in prison, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal. However, the judge said the lower sentence was “striking the balance” between the seriousness of the crime and other factors in the case.

The teen was given a minimum of 16 years and a maximum of 40 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections, with credit for the 447 days served so far.

The judge said the sentence was meant to have the teen serve as much time in prison as he had spent out of prison in his life so far, reported ABC affiliate KTNV.

Former Teacher

The victim, identified only as Sade, told the judge on Wednesday that she felt “imprisoned” mentally and physically since the attack on April 7, 2022, that left her with multiple injuries. She did not return to her teaching job at the school.

“It only makes sense that he too should be in prison for as long as possible,” she said, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “This isn’t because I hate him or want any sort of suffering for him … but like I said, I just no longer feel those feelings.”

According to KTNV, Sade’s family members and friends shared with the court how the attack affected Sade’s ability to get out of bed and leave her home, as well as process emotions. All of them asked the judge to sentence the teen to the highest possible sentence.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Sade’s family told the judge that she now suffers from chronic physical pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. The young woman, who is still in her 20s, now uses a walker and has sensitivity to light and sound, her family said.

Teen Told Police He Raped Teacher

Martinez Garcia and the teacher were meant to be going over his grades when he started to choke her from behind with a “rope or string,” reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal, citing the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He then slammed her head against the table and knocked her unconscious.

The teacher told police that when she woke up, she asked Martinez Garcia why he attacked her, and he responded that he “didn’t like teachers” and was “getting revenge.” He then choked her, rendering her unconscious for a second time.

When she woke up, her pants and underwear were pulled down, and Martinez Garcia poured something on her and said he wanted to “set something on fire.” After that, he moved a shelf on top of the teacher and sat on top of it.

According to police, Martinez Garcia also tried to cut Sade’s wrists at one point and told her “Can’t you die already?”

The outlet reported Martinez Garcia initially told police that he “blacked out” and didn’t remember the attack but later told police he remembered trying to choke the teacher and that he had raped her.

An arrest report released on April 12, 2022 cited by NBC affiliate KSNV said that at one point, Martinez Garcia also tried to crush Sade under a cabinet.
In a release (pdf) on April 8, 2022, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said that after the attack, Martinez Garcia fled the classroom, and Sade was later found by another employee.

Teen Expresses Remorse As Lawyer Cast Some Blame On Medication

“I regret what I’ve done,” Martinez Garcia told the court Wednesday, reported KTNV. “I also regret the things I should have done, but didn’t do, like get help or tell my family what I was experiencing.”

The teen added: “Even though I’ve been in custody, I’ve been trying to change my life for the better. ...I will tell myself I have no one else to blame but myself. I am so sorry for everything I put you through. I’m sorry.”

His court-appointed lawyer, Tyler Gaston, told the judge his client’s behavior was likely caused by the side effects of an asthma medication he took that caused mood changes, night terrors, and hallucinations.

The drug, montelukast, also known by the brand name Singulair, has been linked to “serious neuropsychiatric events” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (pdf).
The attack was one of several examples of school violence that led to the Safer Supportive Schools Act (Assembly Bill 330), which was passed by the Nevada state legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo on May 31. The legislation outlines disciplinary measures for any students who commit battery intended to cause bodily harm to a school employee, among other provisions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.