A man who punched and kicked a Circle K clerk in 2018, leaving the worker with a traumatic brain injury, was properly sentenced to back-to-back prison sentences totaling 16 years, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
Manuel Andrade Jr. challenged his sentences after being convicted in April 2019 of aggravated assault with serious injury and third-degree burglary. He argued the crimes “were simultaneous” and therefore required concurrent not consecutive prison terms.
However, the court of appeals issued a unanimous decision Oct. 26, finding that the act of burglary occurred when Andrade went behind the convenience store counter to attack the clerk. The act of aggravated assault occurred when he slammed the clerk to the floor, then punched and kicked him.
As such, the two crimes involved “distinct” acts, the decision reads. That means the trial judge was correct in imposing an 11.5-year prison term for assault followed by 4.5-years for the burglary.
Andrade, 47, also had appealed a $16,254 restitution order issued in August 2019 for benefit of the clerk, who was medically cleared to work after five months but not want to return to the Circle K where he was attacked. It then took him another four months to find a new job.
Andrade did not contest paying restitution for five months of the clerk’s lost wages but objected to the last four months. Under state law, a defendant convicted of a crime “shall be ordered to make restitution to the person who is the victim of the crime . . . in the full amount of the economic loss as determined by the court.”
The trial judge ruled it was “eminently reasonable, understandable, and appropriate” for the victim to remain out of work so long based on the nature of the assault and the clerk’s injuries. The court of appeals agreed with the lower court ruling.
“Here, the expenses related to (the victim) finding new employment were clearly economic losses,” the appellate decision reads. “They also stemmed directly from the aggravated assault by Andrade, as these expenses were incurred to make (the victim) feel safer and more secure after the attack.”
The appellate decision takes effect Nov. 26 unless Andrade files a petition for review by the Arizona Supreme Court. The Arizona Department of Corrections lists Andrade’s release date as Oct. 4, 2032.
Court records show Andrade was identified through surveillance video from the store. He was taken into custody after the Tucson Police Department asked the community for help locating him.