Machete assault nets man four-year jail term

Still adamant he wielded a machete in self-defence, a Red Deer man convicted of using that machete to strike another man as many as five times was sentenced to four years in custody.

Still adamant he wielded a machete in self-defence, a Red Deer man convicted of using that machete to strike another man as many as five times was sentenced to four years in custody.

“God is my only witness,” repeated John Casey Wenger, 28, prior to hearing his sentence.

He was sentenced Wednesday in Red Deer provincial court after being found guilty on April 1 by judge Jim Mitchell of one count of aggravated assault and one count of assault with a weapon.

Wenger was drunk on beer and whiskey when he smoked salvia, a psychoactive plant that has been known to induce hallucinatory experiences, on Jan. 15, 2011. At the time he was socializing with Colton Hill and Robert Bruce Mills all neighbours in the same apartment complex.

Mitchell found that Wenger started attacked Mills then went into his bedroom followed by Mills and Hill. They saw an object that turned out to be a machete in his hand.

As Wenger lifted his arm up to strike, Mills pushed his friend out of the way and raised his left forearm to deflect the blow.

Mills was his up to five times in the hand and arm, severing muscles, tendons and nerves.

Mitchell said had Mills not deflected these blows, he may well have been decapitated.

Above all, Mitchell was struck by Wenger’s inability to appreciate what happened. While he sensed some regret about the injury, Mitchell said there was no real remorse and Wenger accepted no real responsibility for his actions.

Wenger spoke for a brief period, saying the incident was “like something from a horror movie.”

“I can’t fix it. Nothing I can do can fix it,” he said.

He turned to Mills, who sat in the gallery, and apologized. But was still adamant to Mitchell that he acted in self defence, claiming Mills and Hill attacked him first. Mitchell had rejected that testimony as unreliable during the trial.

Mitchell concluded the violent and bloody assault must be denounced, saying Mills’ prognosis is he may never fully recover from the injuries he sustained.

He sentenced Wenger to four years and four months in jail and included a 20 years weapons prohibition and an order for a sample of Wenger’s DNA. Wenger was given four months credit for pre-trial custody he spent in remand before being granted bail in March 2011.

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