A 37-year-old Houma man convicted last year of killing another man with a pool stick will continue serving a life sentence after a court rejected his appeal.
Walter Rosario-Colon, a former police officer in Puerto Rico, was convicted July 25, 2018, in the second-degree murder of Antonio Aguado Jr.
Aguado died Sept. 18, 2016, after he suffered a severe open-head injury at the Las Amigas Bar on Grinage Street. An autopsy showed the weapon – a pool cue – entered halfway through his head.
Witnesses gave conflicting testimony of what led up to the attack. Some say Rosario-Colon struck Aguado with the pool cue in an unprovoked attack. Others said Aguado instigated a fight.
The bar’s surveillance cameras did not capture the attack.
A judge sentenced Rosario-Colon on Sept. 11 to life in prison without probation, parole or suspension. He later filed an appeal with the Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeal alleging he acted in self-defense.
In its Sept. 27 ruling, the appeals court affirmed his conviction because it felt prosecutors proved that Rosario-Colon acted with the specific intent to kill or cause “great bodily harm.”
The appeals court said it would not reweigh the evidence to overturn a fact finder’s determination of guilt.
“The defendant’s conduct was a substantial factor in bringing about the death of the victim, and the defendant’s identity as the perpetrator of that offense against the victim was without question,” the court said in its ruling. “Conflicted testimony was presented at trial concerning the actions of the victim and the defendant on the night of the incident and on the issue of the criminal agency of the defendant as the cause of the victim’s death. The jury heard all of that testimony and viewed all of the evidence presented at trial and, notwithstanding any alleged inconsistencies, found the defendant guilty of second-degree murder. As the trier of fact, the jury was free to accept or reject, in whole or in part, the testimony of any witness.”
By leaving the bar and failing to report the incident, Rosario-Colon’s actions were inconsistent with a theory of self-defense, the court said.
“In finding the defendant guilty, the jury clearly rejected the claim of self-defense and concluded that the use of deadly force under the particular facts of this case was neither reasonable nor necessary,” the appeals court said. “Based on the evidence, a juror could have reasonably concluded that the defendant, who had training in the use of lethal and nonlethal self-defense, struck the heavily intoxicated, unarmed victim on the head with a pool cue with sufficient force to penetrate his skull and brain.”
Rosario-Colon is serving his sentence in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.
-- Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.