Man convicted of stabbing Cactus woman
By Robin Scott
A Moore County jury took less than an hour to convict a habitual criminal of assaulting a woman from Cactus last November. The ending to the bizarre circumstances surrounding the felon’s arrest may bring some relief for the victim.
On November 29, 2008, Javier Yebra assaulted a 20-year-old woman from Cactus. Her injuries were so severe that she required major surgery to save her life, according to Moore County District Attorney David Green, who noted, “During that assault, Yebra cut or stabbed his victim at least six times.” The victim testified about her ordeal during Yebra’s trial.
Cactus Police Officer Kristi King apprehended Yebra as he attempted to flee the scene of the crime last November. She cuffed him, and then tended to the severely injured victim. While Officer King was aiding the young woman, Yebra managed to escape King’s police vehicle.
Hours later Yebra was again apprehended, still handcuffed. He was arrested and charged with the enhanced felony of aggravated assault. The enhancement was due to Yebra’s prior criminal history, according to D.A. Green. D. A. Green stated, “He had three prior felony convictions out of El Paso County. The El Paso D.A. assisted in gathering the information about his prior criminal history.”
The jury, after finding him guilty on December 9th, sentenced Yebra to 50 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. In Texas, criminal trials are bifurcated in two phases if a defendant is convicted. The first is the evidentiary trial on guilt or innocence and the second is a punishment phase. During the punishment hearing, the jury heard the evidence of Yebra’s prior criminal history.
According to D.A. Green, “Assistant District Attorney Tim Salley, who was lead prosecutor in the trial presented evidence of Yebra’s many prior convictions, including the felony convictions and 16 misdemeanor convictions.” The jury took less than an hour to convict Yebra, and then less than an hour to determine his punishment.
Punishment for Yebra fell within the range permitted for a first degree felony, although he was charged with a second degree felony. D.A. Green explained, “When someone has prior felony convictions it raises the punishment up one level, so for this crime he could have received life in prison.”