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Man pleads guilty to assault after start of trial

POSTED: April 23, 2014 12:41 a.m.

A Gainesville man decided to plead guilty to assault charges after his trial was underway.

Leonel Dominguez, 32, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of aggravated assault, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a drug-related object, two counts of misdemeanor cruelty to a child and misdemeanor obstruction for attacking Gainesville woman Regina Wofford in December 2012. A jury had been selected and multiple witnesses had testified before Dominguez changed his plea to guilty.

Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller sentenced Dominguez to 13 years in prison and seven years’ probation. The state had initially offered a negotiated plea of 10 years to serve in confinement and 10 years on probation.

“Certainly the facts of your case are serious facts,” Fuller said. “The infusion of both drugs and alcohol led to a horrendous conclusion.”

The state submitted as evidence in the case photographs of the victim on the night in question, her head and clothing coated in blood.

The charges allege in one count that Dominguez stabbed Wofford’s face with a broken bottle, and another count said he used his arm in physically harming the 31-year-old Gainesville woman, his then-girlfriend.

Wofford was arrested for failure to show up to court Monday after being subpoenaed. Tuesday she listened to plea proceedings, quietly wiping tears as she sat in the first row behind Dominguez, a deputy separating the two.

“Lo siento,” Dominguez said, which his lawyer said meant “For it, I am regretful.”

Assistant District Attorney Juliet Aldridge said Dominguez had not taken full responsibility for the attack, as evidenced by his not-guilty plea until the 11th hour. She said that in jail phone calls to Wofford’s aunt, he admitted he had attacked the victim out of paranoia, believing his family had been in danger and blaming Wofford in a drug- and alcohol-fueled delusion.

Fuller ordered that Dominguez be evaluated for mental health and substance abuse problems and follow through on any recommended treatment plan. As a “high-level” offender, Fuller said it was likely the noncitizen legal resident would be deported.


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