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Man accused of assaulting deputy found not guilty

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas After two days of deliberation, a jury found a man accused of assault an El Paso County sheriff's deputy not guilty.

Jurors in the Fernando Lavenant trial began deliberating Tuesday and didn't reach a verdict until late Wednesday afternoon.

At one point, the judge even needed to talk with jurors to encourage them to keep trying.

When the verdict was announced, Lavenant's mother gave a sigh a relief. Lavenant's mother said waiting for the verdict felt like forever.

She said the not guilty verdict couldn't have come at a better time.

"I'm really happy for my son. It's his 22nd birthday and one stress less," Carmen Villa said.

As KFOX14 previously reported, Lavenant was accused of resisting arrest, assaulting a deputy and stealing his car in 2011.

Prosecutors said Lavenant then led deputies on an eight-hour manhunt. One deputy took the stand to testify that deputies found Lavenant holding a gun.

The deputy told the court he was afraid Lavenant would shoot at them, so the deputy pulled the trigger first.

The defense claimed Lavenant wasn't going to shoot, and the defense attorney told KFOX14 that claim was proved by evidence.

Lavenant's attorney said this isn't the last time he will be in front of a judge. He will go to trial again on unrelated charges, so he will still be sleeping in his jail cell Wednesday.

 

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