Man gets 192 years for sexual assault on child
A 37-year-old Mesa County man has been sentenced to 192 years to life in prison after being convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault on a child, despite claiming to believe that the presiding judge has no authority over him.
Gabriel Lee Muniz was arrested after a woman reported that she walked in on him molesting the then 12-year-old boy. He took the case before a jury in July, but was kicked out of his own trial repeatedly for what District Judge Valerie Robison called “disingenuous” and constant interruptions saying that he didn’t consent to the proceedings and objecting to Robison’s authority. A jury nevertheless convicted him of four counts of sex assault on a child as part of a pattern of abuse.
Muniz started the trial representing himself with Grand Junction defense attorney Jason Conley acting as his appointed advisory counsel. When Muniz was tossed from the courtroom, Robison appointed Conley to take over as defense counsel.
Robison on Thursday morning sentenced Muniz to 48 years to life in prison on each of those counts after finding that Muniz is a habitual criminal, according to Mesa County prosecutor Jennifer Springer.
Springer said Thursday she was grateful for the verdict.
“I’m very appreciative of the time and attention the jurors spent on this case,” she said.
Springer added that Muniz’s young victim is in a place where he is well cared for, and said she is also grateful to the people who are looking after him.
Muniz was allowed to speak at Thursday’s hearing, but chose not to, Springer said.