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Man gets 25 years for assault on Gainesville police officer
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Marcos Garcia-Tovar is sentenced to 25 years in prison at Hall County Superior Court on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, on the count of aggravated assault on a police officer that took place in November 2017. - photo by Austin Steele

It was the type of sentence the court regretted imposing on a young person, the 21-year-old man awaited the decision, according to Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller.

“It will impact your life in a fashion that it will take great effort for you now to recover from,” he said to Marcos Garcia-Tovar.

But Fuller did not mince words when addressing the Gainesville man, saying he found little to mitigate the circumstances after Garcia-Tovar was convicted Thursday, Oct. 18, of aggravated assault on a Gainesville police officer.

“Sometimes there are lines that are still crossed that you simply can’t step back over, and these facts present the court with that situation,” the judge said before sentencing Garcia-Tovar to 25 years of incarceration.

Garcia-Tovar was found guilty on a charge of pointing a gun at Officer Francisco Leyva, but he was found not guilty on the count alleging he shot at Officer Stephen Boykin.

The jury convicted Garcia-Tovar on two lesser-included offenses, obstruction of officers and reckless conduct, on the Boykin assault count as well as the indicted charge of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

The jury took the case for deliberations Thursday afternoon and returned around 7 p.m., having asked multiple questions to the judge regarding definitions and access to testimony transcripts.

Assistant District Attorney Anna Fowler asked for the maximum sentence on each charge, saying the defendant acted with “nothing but the intent to terrify these two young men.”

“When he fired that firearm, he was in someone’s backyard. There are houses all around. It was an incredibly dangerous, reckless, selfish thing to do,” Fowler said.

Tendering to the judge his client’s lack of criminal history involving violence and firearms, defense attorney Jean Sperling said he has gleaned from their conversations that Garcia-Tovar is a “nice kid” and “not an evil person.”

“From the bottom of my heart, I don’t believe that he’s as culpable as Ms. (Alondra) Rodriguez,” Sperling said.

The case surrounded Garcia-Tovar, Rodriguez and the response by Gainesville Police to a Nov. 17 911 call near the Athens Street Burger King in Gainesville.

Officers were originally dispatched after the caller told authorities a man was dragging a woman down the road.

Both were charged with pointing a gun at Leyva, and both were accused in the same count of a December indictment with shooting at Boykin.

In addition, Rodriguez was charged with pistol whipping Leyva in the head. She pleaded guilty last week to three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and she received 25 years in custody.

“The court’s convinced that Ms. Rodriguez likely didn’t know how to efficiently discharge a firearm and likely feels that you don’t either,” Fuller said.

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