Man Sentenced to Life For Fatal Sucker Punch

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A 38-year-old Texas man was sentenced to life in prison for sucker punching and killing a man for no apparent reason at a Little Caesar’s pizza restaurant in the Dallas suburb of Plano.

The deadly assault occurred in July 2020.

The victim had stopped at the restaurant on his way home from work and waited outside after placing his order.

The assailant, James Guttierez, and his fiancé arrived a few minutes later and decided to wait in their car after ordering a pizza.

According to prosecutors, surveillance video showed the victim later walk out the restaurant with a pizza in hand. and he put it down on the hood of his truck as Gutierrez, who had gotten out of his car, called him over. Without any warning, Gutierrez punched him in the head.

Witnesses told jurors the victim had no interaction with Gutierrez before the punch and appeared confused about why Guttierez was being called over. They said the punch was thrown so fast the victim had no chance to defend himself.

“No one should ever be in fear of being assaulted by a stranger while picking up dinner on the way home from work, let alone suffer a fatal punch,” Collin County DA Greg Willis said after sentencing. “While it can’t bring the deceased victim back to his family, the jury’s verdict of life in prison is the right answer for a long-term, violently dangerous man who preys upon unsuspecting people just trying to enjoy their lives.”

The jury convicted Gutierrez of aggravated assault. During the punishment hearing, prosecutors presented evidence that Gutierrez assaulted his fiancé while on bond, was a gang member, and had been previously convicted of several felonies, including aggravated assault, retaliation, burglary of a habitation, failure to register as a sex offender, and robbery, according to the county’s news release.

Those factors led to the jury’s recommendation for a life sentence.

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