Peraita sentenced to death by local court

Published 3:33 am Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Staff Writer
A Holman Prison inmate found guilty in September of murdering a fellow inmate was sentenced to the electric chair in November.
Cuhuatemoc Hinricky Peraita, 25, of Rainbow City, Ala., who was serving life without parole for three murders in Gadsden, was found guilty of capital murder and of having committed a murder after being convicted of other murders within the past 20 years.
Prosecutor Reo Kirkland convinced a jury that Peraita held fellow inmate Quincy Lewis down while another inmate, Michael Castillo, stabbed him with a prison-made knife.
Kirkland said during the trial that Peraita played an important role in the death of Lewis by grabbing him around the neck, forcing him onto a bunk and holding him while Castillo stabbed him with a knife.
According to Kirkland, testimony from a medical examiner showed that two different stab wounds would each have resulted in the death of Lewis. One of those wounds was to the chest, the other to the neck.
Peraita's defense team argued self defense and that Peraita and Castillo had paid Lewis money to leave them alone. They said despite paying Lewis, he continued to threaten them and that Peraita had been slapped by Lewis not long before the murder.
Peraita gets an automatic appeal due to the death sentence.
Judge Brad Byrne handed down the death sentence.
His alleged accomplice, Castillo, pled guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter recently in exchange for a 20-year sentence. Judge Joe Brogden accepted the plea on Nov. 6.
In a separate sentencing, a Flomaton man found guilty of attempted murder, second degree assault and first degree burglary was given two life sentences.
Rondal Howard Macks, 36, was found guilty by a jury in September of the attempted murder of 64-year-old Huey Knowles on Nov. 2, 2000.
District Attorney Mike Godwin said Macks received a life sentence for the attempted murder charge and another for the burglary, first degree.
According to the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, Knowles was found lying in a grassy driveway with a gunshot wound to the head.
ECSO investigators said that Macks entered his estranged wife's home through the back door. At some point an argument broke and Macks, who had been drinking according to the wife, put a double-barrel shotgun to her chest and began poking her with it. The wife made her way to another shotgun and shot Macks in the shoulder.
The wife and her children left the house through a window. She and her 3-year-old child ran to her sister's house and a 6-year-old ran down a grassy lane to their grandfather's (Howard Knowles) house.
According to the sheriff's office, when the child told Knowles about what had happened, he armed himself and began running up the road to his daughter's house. It was the argument of prosecutors that Knowles met Macks along that road where the two became involved in an altercation that led to the shooting.
Macks was apprehended by deputies after a five-hour standoff that included the presence of a SWAT team.
Judge Joe Brogden handed down the sentence.
Godwin said his office was pleased with the verdicts and the sentences that were handed down.
The Escambia County District Attorney's Office will present evidence in the murder trial of McGregory Riley. He is accused in the stabbing death of his girlfriend, Jomika Williams, on Dec. 31, 2000.
The murder trial of Ronnie James has been continued.

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