Man pleads guilty in stabbing attack

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2021

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Attempted murder charge to be dismissed

A man accused of stabbing another individual during a fight had a plea hearing on Friday in Mower County District Court.

Raul Zavala Jr., 28

Raul Zavala Jr., 28, of Austin pleaded guilty to felony first-degree assault – great bodily harm – and felony second-degree assault – dangerous weapon – as part of a plea agreement. As part of the agreement, charges of felony first-degree attempted murder – premeditated, felony second-degree assault – dangerous weapon – substantial bodily harm, and another count of felony second-degree assault – dangerous weapon – will be dismissed at the sentencing.

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Court documents state that Austin police officers were dispatched at about 8:46 p.m. on June 21, 2020, to a firearms complaint in the 1800 block of Fourth Avenue Northwest after a report that someone discharged a gun inside the residence. Four females, all of whom appeared to have blood on them, approached one of the officers. One of the females stated, “My boyfriend grabbed a knife and he’s the one that brought the gun.”

She surrendered a firearm to another officer, who observed that the pistol did not contain a magazine.

Police then observed two male subjects, one of which was Zavala, fighting inside the residence. Both combatants had blood on them.

An officer asked one of the females who had been shot and she reported that Zavala fired the gun, but no one was hit by the bullet. She pointed to the upper portion of a door frame between the dining room and the garage, where the officer observed a bullet hole.

The officer observed that the man Zavala had been fighting was bleeding from his left ear and appeared to have several other stab wounds to the middle of his back.

Zavala reported that the victim struck him in the head with a beer bottle and indicated that he shot a gun at the victim and stabbed him in self-defense.

Witnesses said Zavala and the victim were arguing before the fight. Two witnesses reported that Zavala fired the gun; another recalled hearing a gun being fired. Another witness said Zavala was trying to shoot her because she was trying to restrain him from fighting with the victim.

One of the females told police that the victim took the gun from Zavala, who then grabbed a knife and began stabbing him in the back.

Officers observed a shell casing on the dining room floor, as well as a bullet hole above the doorway going into the garage. An officer later observed a red-handled steak knife matching the description of the knife used to stab the victim. The knife appeared to have dried blood on it.

An officer spoke with the victim, who said Zavala was making aggressive gestures toward one of the females and he believed Zavala was going to harm her. He said he confronted Zavala about it and Zavala then retrieved his firearm and shot it at him. After the shot was fired, the firearm was knocked from Zavala’s hand, and he then struck Zavala in the head with a beer bottle. He said Zavala then grabbed a knife and stabbed him and indicated he might have stabbed Zavala with the knife while trying to disarm him.

Medical staff advised police that the victim had been stabbed three times in the back and one time in the left shoulder/arm.

A sentencing date has yet to be determined.