by Leslie Layton
Reynaldo “Reny” Cabral was placed on probation Friday for an assault on his girlfriend that landed him in the Glenn County Jail – and ultimately, in a wheelchair.
Cabral, a 24-year-old Orland man who suffered a spinal-cord injury at the jail and is now a quadriplegic, was sentenced to four years probation and ordered to attend a class for batterers. The sentencing gave some closure to Cabral’s frightening 16-month journey in the Glenn County criminal-justice system.
“I’m very excited,” Cabral said late Friday. “It all turned out well and my family is relieved.”
The Cabrals feared Reny could be sentenced to prison or a mental hospital where the care – and protection — he needs would be virtually impossible.
Cabral pled no contest to a felony battery charge in March in connection with the 2007 assault on his former girlfriend that occurred as he struggled with mental illness. Cabral was arrested, and in the Glenn County Jail, he was pepper-sprayed and Tasered after officers said he became troublesome.
Cabral was then placed in an isolation cell, where he said hallucinations and despair drove him to ram his head into a cell wall. He broke his neck and has since been paralyzed.
His attorney, Denny Latimer of Chico, objected Friday to a court stipulation that Cabral pay Glenn County $59 for each day of housing at the Glenn County Jail. Latimer said Cabral was unable to pay that fine, and the probation condition was removed.
The victim in the case, Torrie Gonzales, said she had never been struck or harmed by Cabral prior to the January 2007 assault. She suffered only minor injuries and has objected to the prosecution of her former boyfriend.
His case has come to exemplify the tragic consequences that can come from untreated mental illness, and has been covered by local media outlets as well as the Los Angeles Times.
Family friend Julie Nasr said both Glenn and Butte counties failed to provide Cabral with the mental-health services he clearly needed in the months prior to the assault. The case, she said, is an example of the “broken mental-health system.”
“He was screaming out to be helped, and he didn’t get it,” Nasr said of Cabral. “The Cabrals are relieved. But the system totally failed Reynaldo Cabral.”
Leslie Layton edits and publishes ChicoSol. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.