LOWVILLE — A former farmworker from Guatemala admitted Friday in Lewis County Court to stabbing a co-worker last fall.
German Abelino Sapon Yax, pronounced YASH, 21, pleaded guilty before Judge Daniel R. King to second-degree assault with intent to cause injury with a weapon, a violent felony offense, in a plea deal that is expected to have him sentenced on July 19 to one year in county jail.
Mr. Yax admitted that on the night of Nov. 20 at the Demko Farm on Route 26 in the town of Martinsburg, he intended to cause injury to his co-worker with a knife when he stabbed Octavio Sanchez Cruz in the chest, causing injuries to Mr. Cruz.
When Mr. Yax hesitated to admit he intended to cause Mr. Cruz injury, Judge King said he thought Mr. Yax’s hesitation was because he thinks he acted in self-defense, but the judge explained that in this state, self-defense is only valid if it is done without “exceeding the force” of the other person.
Because Mr. Yax used a knife but Mr. Cruz had no weapon, the law doesn’t acknowledge it as self-defense.
The original charge against Mr. Yax was first-degree assault with intent to injure with a weapon.
If Mr. Yax is involved in any other incident before sentencing, he could be given 2 1/3 to 7 years in state prison.
Although Mr. Yax’s first language is K’iche’, pronounced kee-SHAY, no translator for that language could be found. However, Mr. Yax said he also speaks and understands Spanish.
A state-provided translator, working via video call, attempted to ensure Mr. Yax understood the proceeding, paperwork and repercussions of an admission of guilt.
A Warning of Immigration Consequences was read to Mr. Yax at the beginning of the proceeding, stating that a guilty plea could subject him to deportation, exclusion from the United States and denial of naturalization.
While at first he was told no one can guarantee he won’t be deported after he serves his sentence, later in the proceeding it was stated that he is likely to be deported.