WILKES-BARRE — A Luzerne County jury on Wednesday found Juan Borbon guilty of all four counts stemming from a machete attack outside the GAR High School in February 2012.
Borbon, 21, was convicted of two counts each of aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy after a jury deliberated for almost four hours Wednesday afternoon.
Prosecutors say Borbon wielded a several-inch-long machete at GAR student Marquis Allen, now 16, nearly severing his left hand, in a fight involving two groups outside the school.
“I’m just so glad it’s finally over,” Allen’s mother, Darlene Burt, said after hearing the verdict.
Burt said her son recently had some setbacks with his physical therapy but has come a long way since the attack.
“When he saw the machete (in the courtroom), he didn’t want to go back in,” Burt said of the three-day trial. “It was too much for him.”
Deputy District Attorney Alexis Falvello said the case was difficult from the beginning because a number of the witnesses were young kids who saw what Borbon did to Allen and were afraid.
“It was a long time coming,” fellow prosecutor Assistant District Attorney Mamie Phillips said. “We’re very pleased there is justice for Marquis.”
Borbon testified Tuesday he didn’t participate in the fight between those of Dominican descent and African-Americans outside the school, and that he had been in Scranton that morning applying for jobs with his aunt. The defendant is a native of the Dominican Republican and had lived in Paterson, N.J., before coming to the Wyoming Valley.
Borbon maintained he returned to Wilkes-Barre, picked up sandwiches for him and his girlfriend and then returned to the Wilkes-Barre house where he had been living around 3:30 p.m.
The fight allegedly occurred shortly after 2:30 p.m. when school let out for the day.
Prosecutors say they were able to identify Borbon as the person who slashed Allen because at the time he had his hair dyed a red color and had it pulled back in a ponytail — information corroborated by Allen and other witnesses.
Investigators say Yansy Abreu, 18, supplied Borbon with the machete. Prosecutors have said Abreu was charged in juvenile court with unknown related offenses and is currently under supervision.
“We’re disappointed, obviously,” Borbon’s attorney, Paul Galante, said after the verdict. “But, we respect the jury’s verdict.”
Galante said he tried to present evidence to show Borbon was not the attacker, and that Borbon’s family was confident he was going home Wednesday.
During their deliberations, jurors asked if they found Borbon not guilty of two of the charges, could they find him guilty of the remaining two.
Galante said that question left him hopeful of a not-guilty verdict, but “you never know what a jury is going to do.”
County Judge Joseph Sklarosky, Jr. said Borbon will be sentenced on Oct. 21, when he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on one of the aggravated assault charges.
Prosecutors said they will be seeking a stiffer sentence for Borbon because he used a deadly weapon in the assault.
Prosecutors also asked that Borbon’s bail be revoked, a request that Sklarosky granted. Borbon has been lodged at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for being unable to post $150,000 bail.