Charles Diez, an Asheville firefighter, admittedly shot a bicycle rider in July
because he was angry the man was riding with his 3-year-old child on a busy road. Considering the bullet lodged in the helmet instead of striking his head, the driver survived the shooting.
Fast forward to this week when Diaz was sentenced to only 120 days in jail for his crime. So what happened?
Turns out a grand jury reduced charges against Diez from attempted first degree
murder to felony assault in August. While "assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill"
can carry a lengthy prison term, the judge felt differently.
According to Mountain Xpress, "convictions on such a charge result in an average 20-39 months in prison for the
defendant. But in the sentencing, Superior Court Judge James Downs found that
Diez's military service, along with testimony from former colleagues about his
good character, were mitigating factors, and chose to sentence him to 15-27
months instead. Downs suspended all but four months of that sentence unless Diez
breaks the law again in the next 30 months."
Brian Merchant of TreeHugger had this reaction :
"Oh, I see. If you have some good character witnesses, and have served in the
military, then for you, shooting someone in the head at point blank with the
intent to kill was probably just a flash in the pan. He probably just had a case
of the Mondays, the poor guy. And here we are shipping him off to jail for four
whole months. All he did was point a lethal weapon at someone's head and pull
the trigger--it was a bad day!
Seriously, though, this decision is an embarrassment to our legal system.
Tolerating this kind of behavior--towards cyclists or anyone--is absolutely
unacceptable. Four months in jail is a joke for such destructive, dangerous