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Assault Trial Continues

Jesse JimenezALBANY, Ore. — A jury is deliberating in an assault case in Linn County, where the state is accusing 20-year-old Jesse Jimenez of helping his friend assault a man with cerebral palsy.

Prosecutor Heidi Sternhagen says Jimenez assisted 18-year-old Trevin King in the assault of 49-year-old Ronald Whitehead in August 2013.

Wednesday was the second day of the trial, when the state continued its case. Several doctors who treated Whitehead testified, saying the man suffered from multiple blows to the head. He is now at a 24-hour care facility in Portland, and doctors say he will never recover from his brain injuries. The state presented a current video of Whitehead, who wears a diaper, is not able to have a conversation, and is not able to sit or stand by himself.

Once the state rested its case Wednesday morning, Defense Attorney Forrest Reid called Trevin King to the stand. King pleaded guilty to assault in the second degree and no contest to robbery in the first degree in February, when he was sentenced to ten years in prison. The state aruges that both King and Jimenez assaulted Whitehead, then stole his bike. The defense argues that though Jimenez was with King at the time of the assault, Jimenez did not take part.

Reid asked King to tell the jury about the events on August 5, 2013. King admitted that he had been drinking and had taken multiple drugs. He said he does not remember the entire night. However, in his testimony, King said that he was mad at the world.  He and Jimenez were walking home late at night, when King said he saw someone on a bike and wanted to beat him up for no reason. That is when he said he punched and kicked Ronald Whitehead.

“When you attacked Mr. Whitehead, did Mr. Jimenez hit with his fist or kick Mr. Whitehead?” Reid asked.

“No he didn’t,” King responded.

“Did Mr. Jimenez encourage you to hit or kick Mr. Whitehead?” Reid asked.

“No he didn’t,” King said.

Reid called Jimenez to the stand next, who maintains his innocence. Reid asked him what he did when he saw King assault Whitehead.

“Well at first I was just standing there, watching,” Jimenez said. “But eventually after he stopped fighting back, I told him to stop.”

“Did you encourage Mr. King to attack Mr. Whitehead?” Reid asked.

“No,” Jimenez responded.

“Did you at any time cause any physical injury to Mr. Whitehead?” Reid asked.

“No.”

But police interviews from last summer reveal that Jimenez admitted to a detective that he did punch Whitehead multiple times. When both attorneys asked Jimenez why he would lie to police, he said he wanted to protect his “brother” as he calls King, who is  his mom’s cousin’s son.

“I wanted to protect him,” Jimenez said. “I thought he wouldn’t be in as much trouble.”

In their closing arguments, the state told the jury that Jimenez lied to police “to protect Trevin, but he wasn’t actually helping Trevin.”

Reid argued that watching a crime occur does not make one guilty of the same crime.

“It was an unfortunate situation,” Reid said. “But we shouldn’t convict Jimenez just because it’s unfortunate.”

He argued that there is no evidence to suggest that Jimenez participated in the assault beyond a reasonable doubt.

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