Man Gets 120 Days for Shooting Cyclist in the Head


This is downright infuriating. Perhaps you recall this story: while driving down the road one day, Charles Diaz grew upset at seeing a man riding his bike on a busy street with his 3 year-old son. So he shot him in the head. Thankfully, the bullet narrowly missed his skull, instead getting lodged in the cyclists' helmet. Well, Diaz has just been sentenced for admitting to nearly murdering a man by firing a gun towards his head--and he's received a paltry 4 months in jail.

That's right. 120 days. For coming as close to killing someone in cold blood as you possibly can without actually doing so. Here's a recap of what initially happened, as reported by the Asheville Citizen-Times, noted in Lloyd's original post on the story:

Police said Charles Diez, an Asheville firefighter since 1992, stopped his car to confront a couple riding bikes along heavily traveled Tunnel Road. Diez was apparently incensed by Alan Simons carrying his 3-year-old child on a seat mounted on the back of his bike. After an argument, Diez pulled a gun and shot at Simons, but the bullet passed through Simon's bicycle helmet, just missing his skull, police said.
Yes, this is a man whose logic appears to be that anyone who in his opinion is endangering public welfare must he himself be murdered. And he's doing less time than you could get for selling marijuana or stealing a computer. Here are some of the maddening details from Streetsblog:
In August, a grand jury reduced charges against Diez from attempted first degree murder to felony assault. While assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill certainly sounds like an offense worthy of a lengthy prison term, the presiding judge apparently agreed that this was a case of a stand-up guy having a bad day.


The scene of the crime

And whatever happened next? Mountain Xpress explains:

Convictions on such a charge result in an average 20-39 months in prison for the defendant. But in the sentencing, Superior Court Judge James Downs found that Diez's military service, along with testimony from former colleagues about his good character, were mitigating factors, and chose to sentence him to 15-27 months instead. Downs suspended all but four months of that sentence unless Diez breaks the law again in the next 30 months.
Oh, I see. If you have some good character witnesses, and have served in the military, then for you, shooting someone in the head at point blank with the intent to kill was probably just a flash in the pan. He probably just had a case of the Mondays, the poor guy. And here we are shipping him off to jail for three whole months. All he did was point a lethal weapon at someone's head and pull the trigger--it was a bad day!

Seriously, though, this decision is an embarrassment to our legal system. Tolerating this kind of behavior--towards cyclists or anyone--is absolutely unacceptable. Four months in jail is a joke for such destructive, dangerous behavior.

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