Police review video of 'Pepper' assault; victim recovering

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

April 26, 2014 at 11:26 p.m.
Updated April 26, 2014 at 11:27 p.m.

Lupe Sandoval parked his car in front of Stripes on East Rio Grande Street at 4:16 a.m. April 17.

A cigarette hanging from his lips, he shuffles a bit after getting out of his car. He forgets his wallet and goes back to get it.

Some four minutes later, Sandoval, 52, is on the ground, bleeding.

Victoria Police Chief J.J. Craig said the video captured by a camera facing North Laurent Street reveals a brutal attack.

Police arrested Marlin "Pepper" Adams, 59, at 5:41 a.m. April 17 in the 1200 block of North East Street on suspicion of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, a second-degree felony, and obstruction or retaliation, a third-degree felony.

Pepper was in the Victoria County Jail on Saturday with a $100,000 bail; Sandoval underwent a 16-hour surgery at a Houston hospital Tuesday.

On Friday, Sandoval was listed in intensive care of the hospital's neurotrauma center.

Craig declined to provide the Victoria Advocate with a copy of a video because it is part of the ongoing case.

The video shows Pepper at 4:18 a.m. talking and pointing at someone out of the frame while walking at a brisk pace parallel to the building. He turns west toward North Laurent Street and stands there near a utility pole before cutting across the parking lot, where he meets Sandoval in front of the store at 4:20 a.m.

Sandoval raises a fist when he sees Pepper retrieve something from his right pocket but lowers it when Pepper shifts the object into his other hand.

The video then shows that as Sandoval reaches for his wallet in his back pocket, Pepper swings back his right arm and hits Sandoval's head with an open hand, sending the man and Pepper to the ground out of the frame.

About 30 seconds pass, and Pepper leaves only to return about a minute later, pick an unidentified object off the ground and swing it again down to where witnesses say Sandoval was lying.

Pepper does not appear again on the video, which does not have any sound.

A couple of people pass by but appear to be unaware anything is awry until law enforcement arrives.

Attorney Jerry Clark was appointed to represent Pepper.

Both Clark and Criminal District Attorney Stephen Tyler declined to comment specifically about the case.

"I'm gathering information and will make a determination on how we need to proceed," Clark said.

"I've been in this business for over 30 years and this is, like I said, a very brutal attack," Craig said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Sandoval and his family during this very difficult time."



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