The Texas 6th court of appeals upheld the life sentence a former Telford Unit inmate who soaked a correctional officer in liquified human waste in an opinion issued Wednesday.
Alonzo Gilbert Guerrero Jr., 25, was being housed in administrative segregation at the Telford Unit because of his unruly and disruptive behavior. When Correctional Officer Rebecca Smith passed by his cell to do a routine security check, Guerrero doused her with a bottle of waste he had been saving in his cell.
Smith testified during Guerrero’s trial that she was drenched in the nasty substance from head to toe and had to remove her clothing in the parking lot before driving home so as not to ruin the upholstery in her car. Smith considered quitting her job and had to undergo periodic blood testing for a year following the July 20, 2017, assault to check for infectious diseases.
On appeal, Guerrero argued that the punishment he received from a Bowie County jury was disproportionate to the crime he committed. The higher court’s opinion states that the jury was permitted under the law to consider not only the crime they convicted Guerrero of committing, but his prior offenses and his behavior while in jail and prison.
Prosecutors were able to use Guerrero’s prior convictions for burglary and arson to increase the punishment range he faced from two to 10 years in prison to 25 to 99 years or life in prison. Guerrero was serving a 4-year term for arson when he assaulted Smith. He pleaded guilty to setting the Victoria County jail on fire and had two previous convictions in two other Texas counties for burglary.
Numerous correctional officers testified at Guerrero’s trial that he was a constant disciplinary problem while in custody. Guerrero would make lude and threatening comments, masturbate in front of prison staff and had thrown urine on two officers just days before the more severe assault on Smith.
First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said she is pleased with the higher court’s decision.
“The district attorney’s office is thrilled with the outcome of this case on appeal. The disgusting harassment and assault of officer Rebecca Smith and the trauma she endured in the aftermath is inconceivable to most law abiding citizens,” Crisp said. “In addition to the facts and circumstances surrounding her case, the jury during the trial’s punishment phase heard evidence of Guerrero’s prior crimes and bad acts. Guerrero has an established record of continuous and entirely-inexcusable sexual harassment of female correctional officers. In light of Guerrero’s prior criminal conduct, the court of appeals was right to reject Guerrero’s argument that his sentence to life imprisonment didn’t fit his crime.”
Guerrero can continue to appeal his case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.