November 15, 2014 1:02 am
UPDATE: Wednesday – 2/26/2014, 4:15pm ET
WASHINGTON – A jury has recommended a three-month jail sentence in a case of road rage that left one man dead.
The Fairfax County jury also recommended a $2,500 fine for Librado Cena. But a judge could adjust that sentence during a hearing set for May 9.
Family members of victim William O’Brien asked for a longer sentence.
The same jury found Cena guilty of misdemeanor assault Tuesday.
EARLIER: Tuesday – 2/25/2014, 5:22pm ET
WASHINGTON — A jury found Librado Cena guilty of misdemeanor assault and not guilty of battery on Tuesday in a case about a fatal road rage incident that had complicated circumstances.
On April 16 last year, Cena, 58, followed a gold minivan into a Best Buy parking lot to confront its driver, William O’Brien, 63, who Cena said had been honking incessantly at him.
A 40-second altercation followed and both men struck each other in some way. Cena says O’Brien lashed out first. At some point, Cena hit O’Brien in the head.
When it was over, both men seemed fine and walked away. But 10 days later, O’Brien was dead.
O’Brien’s death was ruled a homicide, but Cena wasn’t charged with murder. He faced charges of misdemeanor assault and battery.
O’Brien took Pradaxa, an anti-stroke medication that prevents blood from clotting. Cena’s punch caused O’Brien’s brain to bleed, which continued unabated.
Both the prosecution and defense said Pradaxa likely played a role in O’Brien’s death.
Tuesday’s ruling in Fairfax County Circuit Court found Cena guilty of following and confronting O’Brien, giving O’Brien reason to feel fearful of being harmed.
However, they found Cena not guilty of battery — the actual punch.
In police questioning of Cena, which was played in court, Cena said he wanted to yell at O’Brien, but that O’Brien kicked and punched him first.
There is video of the altercation from Best Buy’s surveillance cameras, but it’s taken from such a distance that it’s difficult to tell from the footage exactly what happened.
The jury also heard O’Brien’s 911 call, which he made from his home about an hour after the altercation. He complained of a headache unlike any he had ever had before.
On Monday, Cena told the court he regretted following 63-year-old O’Brien. If he hadn’t, Cena said, “None of this would’ve happened. He wouldn’t be dead. I wouldn’t be here.”
Cena will be sentenced on Wednesday. He faces up to $2,500 in fines and one year in prison. He could get either or both.
WTOP’s Thomas Warren and Kristi King contributed to this report.
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Photos and stories by the Associated Press from 70 years ago this week.