Attorneys In Piedra Case Claim Client Is Being Mistreated
POSTED: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - 5:11pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 18, 2011 - 7:10pm
EL PASO- There are more unanswered questions about the Hector Piedra matter tonight. He's the man who allegedly pointed a gun at El Paso Police. They shot him, and for several days neither his family nor his attorneys were allowed to visit him in the hospital.
Now Piedra is in jail, and his attorneys say he's too hurt to stay there, but prosecutors call him a flight risk.
Piedra's attorneys say their client should never have been discharged from the hospital, and accuse police of neglecting to tell the jail that he had serious gunshot wounds. And while the allegations against him are severe, his attorneys are calling his treatment cruel and unusual.
Today, Piedra was wheeled into court. But according his attorneys, Luis Yanez and Virginia Longoria, yesterday was a different story.
"My client was brought over walking from the county jail, and was in extreme pain, we asked the court to make an order that he would get back to the jail in a wheelchair," Yanez said. He added when he visited Piedra before that, he was shocked at his condition.
"Wounds were open, bandages were improperly placed on his wounds, they were basically hanging from his stomach," Yanez said.
On June 25, police say they responded to a domestic disturbance call and found Piedra and his estranged wife arguing in the street. They say Piedra cooperated and left, but then came back. Officers were called out again, and they say Piedra fled, and then came back a third time - this time, pointing a gun at officers. and pointed a gun at officers. Officers fired several shots, hitting Piedra. Just ten days later, Piedra was released from Del Sol Medical Center, and booked into jail.
"Police never told the jail that he had open wounds; they weren't aware of any wounds that my client had on his body," Yanez said.
Police say Piedra was shot in the stomach and thigh. But today police officer Lori Pinon, who came to the scene after the shots were fired, testified that she also saw a wound on Piedra's side.
Also testifying today was Detective Erik Messer, who says Piedra's 17-year-old-daughter told him she initially saw Piedra holding a gun, but that when he came back to the home, "she wasn't sure if her father had a gun at that point."
Referring to the dashcam video from one of the police units at the scene, Longoria asked him, "Does it show my client holding a gun?"
Detective Messer said, "It shows him raising his arm."
"I cannot distinctively tell you it was a weapon," Detective Messer added.
Detective Alfredo Hernandez then testified, saying he interviewed Piedra's estranged wife. Longoria asked, "She told you she did not see a weapon in her husband's hand?"
The detective said, "That's correct."
Referring again to the dashcam video, Longoria asked, "Did you see anyone other than the officers with a gun?"
The detective said, "I don't know because I briefly saw the video in passing."
Yanez and Longoria then asked the judge to reduce the bond so Piedra can get medical attention.
"I would say it was improperly taken care of, my client's in a lot of pain and wasn't given medical attention," Yanez said.
We're still waiting to hear if the bond has been reduced. We asked the sheriff's office if anyone at the jail was told about Piedra's wounds.
A spokesperson said they were made aware when Piedra was booked, and that the hospital said he could walk with assistance. The jail issued Piedra a cane, and the spokesperson said he was fine with the cane. She added there are nurses, as well as a doctor, at the jail to treat inmates.