Wheeler Cowperthwaite

Back to: News
May 7, 2013
Follow News

Paralyzed Fallon resident delivers emotional testimony

A Fallon man who was struck and paralyzed when a Carson City man fired into a crowd delivered emotional testimony at his attacker’s sentencing Tuesday.

Emanuel Moreno, 22, was sentenced Tuesday in Carson City District Court to 20 years on one count of attempted murder and six years on one count of assault with a deadly weapon. Judge James Wilson ordered that the second sentence be served after the first is completed. Moreno, who pleaded guilty March 26, will be eligible for parole after a little more than 10 years. He also was ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution.

Micah Williams, who was paralyzed by the shot, sat in his wheelchair in front of the witness box and described his life, post-shooting, to the judge.

“I’m pretty much dead. I’m a waste now. He ruined my life,” he said. “I’m stuck in a chair every day. I’m in pain, every day. I wanted to go to college; I wanted to play basketball.”

Moreno sat silently as Williams testified, his head bowed for part of the time.

“I take so many pain medications, (but) it’s not even helping ... I wake up every morning wishing I was dead.”

Williams’ father, Mike, who is taking care of his son, testified he felt much the same way.

“He’s to a point, he doesn’t want to live anymore. I struggle with that myself,” he said.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Krueger told the judge the maximum penalty would be a “proper and just sentence.”

“Very nonchalant, he ran to the car and started shooting,” Krueger said. “There’s a very, very good likelihood someone is going to get hurt.”

Moreno’s defense attorney, Karin Kreizenbeck, argued that Moreno’s life, too, would be forfeit with a maximum sentence.

“Emanuel’s life is basically over as well,” she said. “He’s facing deportation (to Mexico). He has a 3-year-old son he may never be able to see. He has no ties other than his (ailing) mother in Mexico. Not to minimize what Mr. Williams went through, but Emanuel’s life is over, too.”

“You’ve got your legs; you can walk,” Micah Williams told Moreno, looking forward. “Me, I’m dead from the waist down, like I don’t got a life.”

Deputies were called to a fight in progress at the former Toad’s Bar about 4:13 a.m. March 3, 2012. As deputies began exiting their vehicles, shots rang out and a deputy returned fire, hitting Moreno in the hand. He later was arrested at a Reno hospital.

A bouncer at the bar told investigators he saw Moreno go to the trunk of a car, grab an object, put it behind him and return to the fight in the parking lot. He then saw him shooting at two subjects, one of whom was hit, according to the arrest report.

Judge Steven McMorris said at the preliminary hearing that Moreno did not fire in an attempt to scare people.

“When you point a gun into a crowd of people and shoot it five or six times, you intended to hit someone, and I learned this in the Marine Corps: If you shoot someone, there’s a chance (the person) might die or be seriously injured,” he said at the preliminary hearing.

When Moreno’s case was bound over to district court, it was on charges of attempted murder with a deadly weapon, battery with a deadly weapon and substantial bodily harm. The deadly weapon enhancement on attempted murder carried an additional 20 years and the battery charge carried a maximum of 15 years.

Stories you may be interested in

The Nevada Appeal Updated May 7, 2013 07:00PM Published May 7, 2013 07:00PM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.