Schenectady County

Xctasy’s abuser loses his appeal

The admitted abuser of Xctasy Garcia will not receive a reduction in his sentence, court ruled Thurs
PHOTOGRAPHER:

The admitted abuser of Xctasy Garcia will not receive a reduction in his sentence, court ruled Thursday.

Jose Munoz, 27, had asked the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court to reduce his 17-year sentence to 10, arguing that his sentence wasn’t entirely legal.

He argued that two sentences were consecutive, but should run at the same time because they could be interpreted as the same act.

But the court was not moved.

“The record sufficiently establishes that the crimes to which he pleaded were ‘separate and distinct offenses committed by separate and distinct acts,’ ” the justices wrote.

In his appeal, Munoz argued consecutive seven-year terms on two counts of assault should have been concurrent. Both involved injuries inflicted on Xctasy, burns to her eyes and a fracture to her arm. A third assault plea drew three years.

Wording in the plea hearing could be read as the injuries were part of the same act, requiring the sentences be served at the same time, his attorney, Susan Lyn Preston, argued.

But Alfred Chapleau, chief assistant Schenectady County district attorney, argued that it was understood throughout the legal process that the counts resulted from two separate acts, right up to Munoz’ sentencing by Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago.

Drago gave Munoz the maximum sentence allowed in the plea bargain.

Munoz admitted at his plea to breaking Xctasy’s arm, nearly blinding her with a mixture of soap and bleach and using a cigarette to burn the arm of her half-brother, Hennessey Velazquez. It was a highly publicized case that led to changes in local and state law.

Munoz’ one-time girlfriend, Delia Hernandez, mother of Xctasy, now 6, Hennessey, 10, and Damien Munoz, 9, was sentenced to seven years for her role in the abuse.

Xctasy’s recovery was nothing short of remarkable, officials have said. She recovered her eyesight, and she and her brothers thrived in foster care with people who cared about them, before being placed with family.

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