Before Juan Solorzano was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for a malicious wounding in Chantilly's Highland Oaks community, his attorney described him as a family man.
TROUBLE WAS, he had children with both his wife and an ex-girlfriend. And when he was thwarted in his attempts to see the daughter he'd had with his ex, he became violent and attacked the woman's brother.
"He wasn't trying to perpetrate crimes on these people," said defense attorney James C. Love IV. "He was concerned for his child's welfare. But he went about it in a totally inappropriate way."
"The defendant stabbed another man in the chest with a butcher knife," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Bob McClain. "That's enough to kill someone."
The incident occurred Sept. 22, 2006, in the 4000 block of Royal Lytham Drive, where Solorzano's ex-girlfriend lived with her brother. When Solorzano pleaded guilty to his crime, Jan. 30, in Fairfax County Circuit Court, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney William Rhyne explained what had fueled his rage.
He said Solorzano, 30, of 6701 Chestnut Ave. in Falls Church, and his ex had issues about him seeing the child. And he went to her home to confront her. She wasn't home, so Solorzano returned 14 hours later — with a knife — and vented his wrath on her brother and another man.
"He was invited in to look around [for his ex] for himself," said Love, during Friday's sentencing. "A scuffle broke out, and he was confronted by two guys." They began arguing, and Solorzano stabbed both men, wounding the brother seriously. He, too, was injured, and needed treatment at a hospital.
"He's always been a good worker and a good provider for his wife and three children," said Love. "And it was his concern for this child born to his girlfriend — who was addicted to heroin and who he believed wasn't properly supervising the child — that led him to go there that day."
Love said Solorzano and his wife want custody of the child so they could raise her. However, he added, "[Solorzano] does have a drinking problem, and severe depression — which was exacerbated by his drinking ... But that's not an excuse [for his behavior]. Now, he's going to pay for it, but the welfare of his wife and all his children is weighing heavily on him."
LIKEWISE, though, the severity of Solorzano's violent act — which was very nearly murder — weighed heavily on the prosecutor. Said McClain: "A couple inches to the left or the right would be all it takes for the defendant to be serving a lot more time."
Solorzano then stood and addressed the court. "I drank alcohol and got into trouble one too many times," he said. And he told the judge he wanted to take treatment programs for his alcohol and anger problems.
"I love my children too much to live this way," said Solorzano. "I deeply regret everyone I hurt, and I sincerely hope you'll accept my apology."
Judge Marcus Williams did, but couldn't let Solorzano leave without consequences. He sentenced him to 10 years in prison, suspending four, and placed Solorzano on two years supervised probation upon his release.
"Conditions of that probation are that you receive substance-abuse treatment and anger-management counseling, and maintain full-time employment," said Williams. He also ordered a DNA sample taken from Solorzano for entry into the Virginia Data Bank for Felons.
Afterward, outside the courtroom, Love again explained his client's actions: "While alcohol played a huge role in this, it all stemmed from his desire to protect his child." Love also said Solorzano's sentence was appropriate.
"Judge Williams is a very fair judge," he said. "You could tell he'd considered the sentencing memorandum we'd submitted to him and was familiar with every aspect of the case."