DECATUR — Carlos Saucedo-Nava is trying to convince a judge that the massive beating he inflicted on his ex-girlfriend — who suffered multiple shattered bones in her face and had to be treated with a medically-induced coma — was a case of self-defense.
Saucedo-Nava, 27, is pleading not guilty to charges of attempted murder and aggravated domestic battery. The Decatur man is being tried in a bench trial before Macon County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Geisler that got underway Monday afternoon.
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Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Friedel used up much of the hearing playing for the court recordings of Saucedo-Nava’s interrogation by Decatur Police Detective Brad Hall. The defendant is heard admitting he beat the then 27-year-old woman on the morning of Sept. 3 in the bedroom of his home in the 1000 block of North Hill Street.
Saucedo-Nava seemed surprised during police questioning that he was being charged with attempted murder, even after hearing the woman was being airlifted to a regional trauma center; she would end up spending more than 40 days in hospital.
Saucedo-Nava never mentioned to police any claim of self-defense but, under questioning from defense attorney Susan Moorehead, he told the judge that was because he was trying to protect the victim, who had been convicted of a previous domestic battery for hitting him. So he had decided to “take the fall” and had hoped to face nothing more than a domestic battery charge.
Now he risked being convicted of trying to kill his former girlfriend, who is also the mother of his child, it was time for him to tell the truth, he claimed. Saucedo-Nava said he had wanted the woman out of his life but had nevertheless become enraged when he found, he said, that she had been sending naked pictures of herself to another man.
That had resulted in a violent argument, the latest of many, and he said the woman had slashed at him with a knife. He then defended himself by punching her repeatedly in the head.
Medical evidence produced in court said she might have died but for emergency medical intervention and the prosecution maintains that Saucedo-Nava was the sole aggressor who had dished out a savage, rage-filled beating that left blood spattered all over his bedroom.
“It is the state’s position that the defendant, with intent to commit the offense of murder, struck her repeatedly without regard for her safety, without regard for her health, and at the level which is indicative of wanton cruelty…” Friedel said.
He had earlier filed a motion, which the judge accepted over defense objections, that if convicted, Saucedo-Nava should face an extended sentence if the court finds he was guilty of an exceptionally brutal, heinous act.
The bench trial ran out of time Monday and Geisler said he will hear closing arguments Wednesday morning.