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Mass. State Rep. Carlos Henriquez gets six month jail time in assault case

Yawu Miller | 1/23/2014, 6 a.m.
State Rep. Carlos Henriquez was handed a two-and-a-half year sentence with six months of jail time in an assault case.

The details of what happened on the night of July 8, 2012 remain sketchy, but the end result is not: convicted of assault, state Rep. Carlos Henriquez has been sentenced to six months in prison and will likely lose his 5th Suffolk District seat.

Henriquez, who maintained his innocence, began serving his sentence last week.

The jurors were presented with two different stories. Henriquez’s attorney, Stephanie Soriano-Mills, said her client and Katherine Gonzalves met for sex in the backseat of Henriquez’s rental car outside the Arlington home where she lives with her mother, but Gonzalves was angered by his refusal to have a committed relationship with her.

Gozalves’ attorney said she refused Henriquez’s request for sex and he subsequently assaulted her, stole her cellphone when she tried to record him, then drove her to Boston where she escaped from his car.

Henriquez was charged with striking Gonzalves in the face, holding her down, choking her, taking her cellphone and removing its SIM card — three counts of assault and battery, one of witness intimidation and one of larceny.

The jury of four white women and two white men found him not guilty of three of the five charges, convicting him of two counts of assault for holding Gonzalves down and choking her.

Gozalves and Henriquez had been dating on and off for several months before the incident took place.

Soriano-Mills said she was stunned by the jury’s verdict and the judge’s decision to give Henriquez jail time for assault charges that usually result in a suspended sentence, especially given that her client had no prior convictions or arrests.

Soriano-Mills said the prosecution’s case was weak, noting the Gonzalves was the sole witness and gave differing accounts of what happened.

“This woman had seven different accounts of what happened,” she said. “The first officer who saw her when she got out of the car that night saw no bruises or marks on her body.”

Soriano-Mills said that Henriquez will likely appeal his sentence, but will likely serve out much of his sentence behind bars before his appeal is heard.

Special election

Both Gov. Deval Patrick and House Speaker Robert DeLeo have called on Henriquez to step down from his seat.

The 5th Suffolk District seat Henriquez has represented for two terms has had a turbulent history since Nelson Merced became the first person of color to hold the seat in 1989. He was bumped from the seat in 1992, when Althea Garrison challenged his signatures, noting that he had not written the word Democrat at the top of one sheet.

Merced’s name was taken off the ballot and Garrison held the seat for one term, before she was unseated by Charlotte Golar Richie in 1994.

When Richie resigned in 1999 to head the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development, Marie St. Fleur won a hotly contested special election for the seat, holding it until 2010, when she left to head the city’s office of Intergovernmental Relations.

Henriquez won the resulting special election, and still holds the seat as of the Banner’s press deadline.