NORMAN — The courtroom was silent for nearly two minutes.
District Judge Greg Dixon broke the silence Wednesday afternoon with a prelude to a life imprisonment sentence for convicted courtroom stabber Troy Jefferson Leal, 45.
“If I could cascade something — intelligence or something — to you, it’s that you’re where you are because of your choices,” Dixon said. “The result of your choices is 12 peoples’ decision.”
Leal will soon be placed into the custody of the Department of Corrections.
His jury conviction Dec. 20 — of one felony count of assault and battery upon an officer and one misdemeanor count of carrying weapons — stems from a Nov. 12, 2009, courtroom stabbing.
After the 2009 hearing on his parole revocation, Leal reached into his pocket, extracting an X-Acto knife, according to the probable cause affidavit attached to the formal charges. Leal stabbed himself in the throat several times, also stabbing Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Lucas, who attempted to stop the continuous stabbing.
The knife severed Leal’s carotid artery, according to the affidavit. Lucas, who was also injured, provided Leal potentially life-saving first aid until medics arrived.
Lucas’ five cuts to his right forearm required 18 stitches.
Leal yelled, “I don’t want to go” after cutting himself, fearful of returning to prison.
Leal plans to appeal
At the Wednesday sentencing, Lucas, at the witness stand, said he could not recommend the suspension or alteration of Leal’s recommended sentence of life imprisonment.
“While I’m not a fan of warehousing every person,” Lucas said, “if he gets out or has another chance, I believe he will do anything he can to stay out of prison.”
Dixon ruled that Leal will not only spend life in prison for stabbing Lucas, but he will also pay a $250 fine and spend 30 days in the F. DeWayne Beggs Detention Center for the count of carrying weapons.
Dixon said Leal has until April 21 to appeal the verdict.
One of his attorneys, Kevin Finlay, said Leal plans to appeal.
“We’ve always maintained from Day 1 that Mr. Leal was intending to commit suicide and that he never intended to hurt anybody,” Finlay said. “We find the jury’s verdict disappointing.
“Certainly, Steve Lucas was a hero — Steve Lucas saved his life — but as we’ve maintained all along, I don’t believe Mr. Leal should die in prison for attempting to commit suicide.”
He said neither he nor Kristi Gundy, both of whom represented Leal in this trial, would represent him at the appellate level, as the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System will appoint Leal with an appellate attorney.
Assistant District Attorney James Siderias represented the state, and he said the life sentence is good news for Norman residents.
“It means that the people of this community and the state of Oklahoma are kept safe from a convicted pedophile,” Siderias said, also alleging that Leal is willing to take drastic action to avoid responsibility. “We have made this community a little bit safer today.”
According to Leal’s enhancement page attached to the formal charges, he has previous convictions on one count of forcible oral sodomy and two counts of lewd molestation, all dating from August 1995.
Joel Pruett 366-3540 email@example.com