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Pepper indicted on assault, retaliation charges

By Jessica Priest
June 27, 2014 at 1:27 a.m.
Updated June 28, 2014 at 1:28 a.m.

Marlin Adams

A man known throughout Victoria as "Pepper" was indicted by a grand jury on a charge that he beat a man into a coma.

A grand jury returned an indictment for Pepper, whose real name is Marlin Adams, 59, of Victoria, on Thursday.

He is charged with aggravated assault, causing serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony.

Police arrested him on the morning of April 17 after a camera posted at the Stripes convenience store on East Rio Grande Street partially captured a man beating Lupe Sandoval unconscious.

Adams was found in the 1200 block of North East Street, where officials accuse him of committing his second offense - obstruction retaliation - which is a third-degree felony, for threatening the arresting officer.

"What was ominous about that is he knew a lot of details about where the officer lived and where he was from," Criminal District Attorney Stephen Tyler said. "It was not like it was just hot talk; it was like, 'Hey, you've been studying me.' You can see why that's a little spooky."

Tyler did not know whether that officer was familiar with or had dealt with Adams before.

Victoria attorney Jerry Clark represents Adams, but he could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Adams has a criminal history that spans 20 years, but most of his cases have been misdemeanors.

In 2000, he was sent to a San Antonio hospital after he was declared incompetent to stand trial in an aggravated assault causing bodily injury case.

When he was released from the hospital a year later, he pleaded no contest in exchange for 90 days in jail and a $500 fine, according to court records.

"Competency is not an issue for indictment. That is an issue raised after indictment," Tyler said.

Clark could also request a jury acquit his client by reason of insanity.

"Competency and insanity are not mutually exclusive. You can be both, you can be one, or you could be neither. Insane simply means at the time of the offense, you were incapable of forming a criminal mindset. You did not know what you were doing was wrong; you did not understand the consequences of your actions," Tyler said. "Competency means you understand the proceedings ... and you can participate in your defense."

One of the deadly weapons listed on the indictment is a rock.

Tyler said the rock was found at the scene and appears to have blood on it. It will be tested.

Sandoval, 52, was in a coma and underwent surgery for his injuries at a hospital in Houston. His condition was not available Friday afternoon.

Pepper remained in the Victoria County Jail on Friday in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

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