Guitar Crime!

Man accused of hitting son with guitar gets jailAn illegal immigrant accused of fracturing his son’s skull with a toy guitar while trying to hit his wife has been sentenced to jail after accepting a plea agreement in a convoluted case that included a mistrial and a verdict overturned due to juror misconduct, according to court records released Thursday.The case centers on 25-year-old Israel Gutierrez, a Sheboygan resident who police said swung the guitar at his wife in August 2008 after she made a comment to him as he watched TV. The errant blow struck his 13-month-old son’s head, causing a skull fracture and a hemorrhage between the brain and the inside of his skull, according to a criminal complaint.After two trials failed to resolve the allegations of child abuse, the two sides finalized a plea deal Monday under which a felony child abuse was amended to misdemeanor battery and Gutierrez pleaded no contest to that and two new charges of misdemeanor resisting or obstructing an officer.”He’s been sitting (in jail) for more than a year. He’s going to be deported,” said District Attorney Joe DeCecco. “After two trials we didn’t think it was advisable to continue.”Judge L. Edward Stengel sentenced Gutierrez on Monday to 15 months in jail, though he was also given credit for 380 days spent behind bars while the case progressed. Gutierrez will spend another two and a half months in jail before being deported.According to court records:Gutierrez was charged with felony child abuse and misdemeanor battery, the latter charge for a bruised arm his wife suffered while attempting to block the guitar.A jury in April convicted Gutierrez of battery but hung on the child abuse charge, court records show. A second jury convened June 3 on the child abuse charge and convicted Gutierrez in a trial that lasted less than seven hours.But the second verdict came under scrutiny after one juror, in a post-trial conversation with Gutierrez’s attorney, said another juror had been biased due to the defendant’s illegal immigrant status. All jurors had been asked during jury selection if that status would affect their judgment of guilt, and none said it would.During a recess in the trial, however, one juror told the other he should have acknowledged his bias, saying, “As soon as I heard that…” and then making the out signal used by baseball umpires. Jurors are forbidden from discussing a case while a trial is ongoing.Gutierrez’s attorney then sought to have the jury verdict thrown out, and Stengel granted that request June 26.