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September 23, 2014

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Man fights attempted murder charge in machete attack

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Steve Marcus

Armando Vergara-Martinez appears in court during his trial at the Clark County Regional Justice Center Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. Martinez is accused of attacking Maria Gomez with a machete in the parking lot of a North Las Vegas convenience store in 2012.

Machete Attack Trial

Armando Vergara-Martinez appears in court during his trial at the Clark County Regional Justice Center Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. Martinez is accused of attacking Maria Gomez with a machete in the parking lot of a North Las Vegas convenience store in 2012. Launch slideshow »

The question at the center of the trial for the man accused of hacking up his girlfriend with a machete in 2012 isn’t whether or not he did the crime.

It’s why he did it.

Armando Vergara-Martinez’s attorney Tegan Machnich said in trial today that her client admits guilt to two of the charges against him: mayhem and battery with a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm constituting domestic violence.

The charge Vergara-Martinez is fighting is attempted murder. Vergara-Martinez’s attorneys contend he was drunk when he attacked Maria Gomez on March 21, 2012, outside the Green Valley Grocery, 530 E. Craig Road, where she worked.

When police found Gomez, her hands were hacked at the wrist and her head appeared to be split open as if she had been scalped, according to an arrest report.

One shopper testified today that she remembered hearing a “ka-ching” sound each time the machete hit Gomez.

Machnich said her client wanted to take responsibility for the attack.

“He loved [Gomez],” Machnich said. “This has all been very difficult for him.”

Vergara-Martinez sobbed after his brother read a letter on the stand that Vergara-Martinez wrote before the attack. In the letter Vergara-Martinez apologized to his parents for something bad he planned to do to Gomez.

While Gomez survived, undergoing surgery to reattach her hands, she died of uterine cancer six months after the attack. She was 53.

The jurors have been informed that Gomez is deceased but instructed not to speculate about her death.

Vergara-Martinez is still deciding if he will take the stand.

Trial resumes on Wednesday.

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