SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A gang member who slashed his attorney on the cheek during a trial in which the defendant was convicted of trying to carry out a Mexican Mafia-directed "hit" on a fellow inmate at Donovan State Prison was sentenced Monday to 64 years to life behind bars, plus 35 years.
Eduardo Macias, 33, was convicted last December, along with 38-year-old Geronimo Polina, of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault. Jurors also found that the July 5, 2010, attack on Victor Ortiz was carried out for the benefit of a street gang.
At the time of the attack on Ortiz, Macias was serving time for a March 2010 manslaughter conviction.
A third man, Lionel Quinteros, was acquitted of conspiracy and attempted murder in the Ortiz attack but convicted of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury by a prisoner.
Quinteros was previously sentenced to eight years in prison and Polina to 75 years to life behind bars, plus 16 years.
During his trial, Macias slashed attorney William Burgener on the cheek with a razor the defendant apparently smuggled into the courtroom in his mouth. The slashing took place in front of jurors and a group of about 20 high school students on a field trip.
Burgener needed stitches to close the wound. For the remainder of the trial, Macias defended himself. In May, he pleaded guilty to aggravated mayhem.
With regard to the attack on Ortiz, Macias said he acted alone and wasn't trying to kill the victim. But Deputy District Attorney Hector Jimenez said the defendants conspired to murder Ortiz to end a power struggle for control of the prison.
The prosecutor said Macias was "lying in wait" with a razor in the prison yard, while Polina brought the victim to him. A prison guard fired numerous rounds to stop the attack.