Jury acquits man of machete attack outside York City church

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A jury has acquitted a Red Lion-area man who had been accused of attacking a fellow meeting-goer with a machete outside a York City church more than a year ago.

Felix Jimenez, 52, formerly of Wrightsville, stood trial last week in York County Court on his charges of aggravated assault and simple assault.

Jurors took about 90 minutes Friday, Jan. 12, to acquit him of both offenses, according to defense attorney Farley Holt.

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Charging documents filed by York City Police alleged Jimenez and Marco Garcia got into a fight while attending a meeting inside York Otterbein United Methodist Church at 301 W. Philadelphia St. on Oct. 7, 2016.

The fight turned physical, and Jimenez left the church, police have said, adding that Jimenez attacked Garcia with a machete outside the church about 9:10 p.m.

Garcia suffered a cut to his left forearm that wasn't life-threatening, police said.

But Holt said jurors heard a much different story from eyewitnesses.

Offensive words: Holt said both men and others were attending a meeting at the church when Garcia got up and started talking about women in a derogatory manner.

After he was done speaking, one of Jimenez's employees — who also serves as his driver — told Garcia that his words were disgraceful, according to Holt. Jimenez owns a painting and landscaping business, his attorney said.

Felix Jimenez

"She was offended," Holt said.

Witnesses testified Garcia "raised his hand like he was going to slap her," which is when Jimenez stepped in, according to Holt, who said Garcia pulled out a knife.

Jimenez's driver was cut by Garcia as she tried to break up the fight between Garcia and her boss, the attorney said.

Witnesses said the encounter moved outside, which is when Jimenez retrieved a machete from his vehicle and used it to chase Garcia away, Holt said.

"Witnesses said (Garcia) was acting kind of crazy when he was talking at the ... meeting," he said.

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'Superficial' wound: Another issue for jurors to consider was Garcia's wound, according to the defense attorney.

"I convinced the jury that it could not have happened the way the victim said it happened," Holt told The York Dispatch.

The cut on Garcia's arm wasn't in the location it should have been, had he been struck with the machete the way he told police he'd been attacked, Holt argued.

"Also, it was a superficial wound," the attorney said. "If my guy had whacked him with a machete, the wound clearly would have been down to the bone."

Holt maintains Jimenez didn't cut Garcia with the machete at all.

"We're thinking it was self-inflicted," he said. "Or he possibly could have gotten (wounded) when they were tussling inside the church."

Holt said the jury believed Garcia was the aggressor in the encounter because he pulled out a knife inside the church.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.