LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A former Eldorado High School student accepted a plea deal in a Las Vegas courtroom Wednesday and pleaded guilty to lesser charges in his violent attack on one of his teachers last year.
Jonathan Martinez Garcia, who was 16, at the time of the attack on April 7, 2022, appeared in Clark County District Court and pleaded guilty to attempted murder, attempted sexual assault, and battery with the use of a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm. Under the plea deal, his other charges were dismissed.
“Sad, distraught,” Tyler Gaston, Martinez Garcia’s lawyer said of the defendant’s family. “Their son is in custody. They don’t understand what happened so they’re dealing with that process as well. Obviously, everyone is worried about sentencing, because it’s such a big range.”
8 News Now was the only television station in the courtroom as Martinez Garcia entered a guilty plea.
Martinez Garcia, 17, initially faced eight charges including sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, attempted murder, kidnapping, and battery by strangulation. Due to the seriousness of the charges, he was processed as an adult and found competent to stand trial after two mental evaluations.
At the time of the attack, Martinez Garcia was an 11th grader and went to the teacher’s classroom to see what assignments he was missing. According to police documents, the teacher “asked Jonathan repeatedly why he was ‘doing this’ to her.” The student told police although he liked this specific teacher, he “didn’t like teachers” and was “getting revenge.”
The teacher was hospitalized for a week after the attack and left with serious injuries.
Last month, the teacher joined Republican Governor Joe Lombardo as he announced legislation to enhance school safety.
“Sade is not the first victim of heinous and horrific school violence, but we are fighting to make her one of the last,” Lombardo said at Valley High School on March 24.
Martinez Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced on June 5 at 9:30 a.m. He faces from two to 20 years in prison on the attempted murder and attempted sexual assault charges.
“The state will be able to argue for up to 22 to 55 years in prison. We intend on asking for probation, it’s going to be up to the judge,” his attorney Gaston said.
In court, a prosecutor for the Clark County District Attorney’s office said the teacher who was attacked wants to attend Martinez Garcia’s sentencing.
The Clark County Education Association released a statement in regard to Garcia’s guilty plea on Wednesday.
“CCEA is playing a leading role this legislative session, working directly with leaders in both parties, to pass substantive legislation that will ensure a heinous crime like this never, ever occurs again on a Clark County School District campus. We have to have zero tolerance for offenses like the ones Garcia plead guilty to today, but our ultimate goal should be that these types of crimes never come to pass. We can start by creating a culture deterrence in our schools, but we also need the state to invest in the behavioral and mental health wraparound services that our most violent and disruptive students need and ensure districts have all the resources necessary to implement the legislation we pass. The bottom line is that we all have a responsibility to guarantee every bus, every classroom, and every campus is safe—for our educators and our students like.“
-The Clark County Education Association
The Clark County School District also released a statement on Wednesday following Martinez Garcia’s guilty plea.
“With today’s resolution in the Eldorado High School incident, the victim and members of the Eldorado High School community impacted by the violent attack remain in our hearts and minds. As we strive every day to keep our campuses safe for students and staff, we commend the CCSD Police who worked quickly to arrest the suspect and worked with the District Attorney’s Office throughout the process to make it clear that violence against students and staff will not be tolerated in Clark County schools.”
-The Clark County School District