Luke Inman, the District Attorney for the 100th Judicial District, along with Assistant District Attorney Harley Caudle, prosecuted the case for the State of Texas, with the Honorable Judge Stuart Messer presiding.
Fernando Adame Jr., 23, formerly of Memphis, Texas and currently living in Amarillo, was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the first degree felony offense of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a person who he was in a dating relationship. The case arose out of Adame forcing the victim’s vehicle off road causing the vehicle to flip into a pasture which ejected the victim.
During his testimony, Adame admitted to leaving the scene and the victim who had a broken back.
Following his arrest on Oct. 13, 2016, Adame pleaded guilty and was placed on ten years probation on Oct. 5, 2017. The State filed a motion asking the Court to adjudicate Adame’s probation on April 21, based upon multiple violations of his community supervision.
“The facts underlying this case were horrific,” stated Inman. “However, the defendant was young and like most cases we are going to attempt to give individuals a second chance if that is what family and victim wants. We all gave this defendant a chance and it was squandered because he wanted to keep living the same lifestyle that got him in this position in the first place.”
At the first phase of the hearing conducted Aug. 25, the State called five witnesses. Micah Melton and Cindy Aleman, two probation officers who supervised the defendant during his time on probation, testified to the defendant’s violation of several probation conditions.
Amarillo Police Department Sgt. Gordon Eatley and Officer Steven Malatesta testified to the defendant’s arrest for driving while intoxicated on March 6.
The State’s last witness, former Hall County deputy and emergency medical technician Jared Johnson, testified to the victim’s seriously-injured condition and other circumstances at the scene of the crime.
According to Johnson’s testimony, the victim’s vehicle traveled up and over a hill away from the road before flipping multiple times and coming to rest approximately 100 yards into a pasture.
Since the vehicle could not be seen from the road, emergency responders were unable to locate the victim for nearly 30 minutes.
As for the defendant’s abandoning the victim and fleeing the scene, Johnson testified “no decent human being could have abandoned the victim in the condition she was in.”
At the conclusion of last Wednesday’s hearing, Messer found that Adame violated the terms of his probation. When the hearing resumed yesterday, Messer heard punishment evidence and closing arguments from the State and defendant, then sentenced Adame to the 60-year prison term.
“He left the victim, a 16 year-old girl, out in that pasture to die just like he had hit a stray dog,” said Caudle following Messer’s pronouncement of the prison sentence. “After he ran her off the road and watched her be ejected from the vehicle, the defendant gave the broken and bloodied victim her cellphone to call 911, then he crushed the phone and fled back into town. While emergency responders were frantically searching for the crash site and the victim, the defendant was back in town at the barber shop getting a haircut. Even for prosecutors, it is a level of callousness we rarely see.”
Messer’s decision making and pronouncement of the sentence denounced Adame’s actions on the offense date and while he was on probation.
“Does the defendant take responsibility for his actions is extremely important in my decision making,” said Messer before the sentence was handed down. “You signed a stipulation of evidence, you signed a judicial confession when you plead, and now you’re telling me that is a lie.”
Messer continued that failure to accept responsibility is a bad deal, failure to stay with the child was a bad deal, and just doing the act was a bad deal.
Due to the nature of the offense, Adame must serve fifty percent of the sentence before he will become parole eligible.