As the 12 jurors turned and shuffled into the deliberation room, Miguel Angel Robles-Fernandez was nervous. The Gainesville man had been watched by a dozen of his Hall County peers as they listened to hours of testimony.
“I was anxious and worrying about my kids, like hopefully they don’t find me guilty, because if they do, I’ll be away from my kids for the rest of my life,” he said.
Before 4 p.m. Tuesday, the jury returned with five not-guilty verdicts. Robles-Fernandez was acquitted on two counts of aggravated assault, kidnapping, theft by taking and battery.
“I broke down crying, because they were trying to give me a life sentence,” he said.
Robles-Fernandez’s attorney, Larry Duttweiler, said the kidnapping charge would have carried a life sentence.
In the cross-examination of witnesses and his argument to the jury, Duttweiler pointed to issues in identifying Robles-Fernandez as the suspect in the alleged Oakwood assault. A woman told authorities a man grabbed her at her home Feb. 29.
The woman’s hands were cut when struggling with her alleged attacker.
In his interview with authorities, Robles-Fernandez denied any involvement and said he was in Gainesville at the time of the alleged incident.
“(Duttweiler) did his job, like he was supposed to,” Robles-Fernandez said. “I’m very happy that he was able to get me free from these charges that I was accused of.”
Robles-Fernandez said the criminal charges cost him his job at Prime Pak Foods. Since the acquittal, the Gainesville man said he has contacted his previous employer about returning to work.
Though he said was happy to be back with his family — including children ages 3 and 5 months — Robles-Fernandez said he feels his reputation has taken a hit.
“Even though I got acquitted, people still look at me with a skeptical look,” he said.