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Victoria teen indicted on aggravated assault with deadly weapon charge

By Jessica Priest
March 13, 2013 at 7:02 p.m.
Updated March 13, 2013 at 10:14 p.m.

Norman Benivamonde

A Victoria teen faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after officials said he injured two people at the Crestwood apartment complex earlier this year.

A grand jury indicted Norman Benivamonde, 18, on March 7.

Victoria police arrested Benivamonde on Jan. 7, charging him with shooting two men driving by the complex. The men sped away during the shooting and called 911 once they were parked in the 2700 block of Leary Lane. They were taken to Citizens Medical Center because of gunshot wounds.

Benivamonde's aunt, Rosemary Silvas, 32, said he had a prior relationship with at least one of the victims, Joseph Ray Pena.

She said then that Pena instigated the fight by driving by routinely and making threatening gestures.

Pena told the Advocate afterward that he was just looking for his 2-year-old Pug, which disappeared after his home was burglarized the night before .

Police have not released the identity of the second victim.

Victoria Criminal District Attorney Stephen Tyler said he chose to charge Benivamonde with aggravated assault rather than attempted murder because it is easier to prove. He said they are both second-degree felonies that carry a punishment of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up $10,000 could be assessed.

He said he will likely bring up the feud between the parties during the trial, but doesn't necessarily have to prove a motive.

He said Benivamonde can't claim self-defense.

"You can't say you're defending yourself if you come to an argument with a gun," Tyler said.

The court appointed Micah Hatley to represent Benivamonde. Hatley could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

A jury trial is set for 9 a.m. June 5 before Judge Robert C. Cheshire.

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