A man with an extensive record of assault convictions was sentenced to nine years in prison for punching a blind man in downtown Austin in 2015.
A Travis County jury on Wednesday found Jonathan Price, 43, guilty of injury to a disabled person, a third degree felony. His punishment range increased to a second degree felony because of a prior conviction for robbery.
According to the arrest affidavit, at about 9 a.m. on Nov. 2, 2015 police responded to a disturbance call at the corner of West 8th and Lavaca streets, a block from the Faulk Central Library. The caller said a man walking on the sidewalk on West 8th shoved and then punched a blind man without being provoked.
The victim, who was with his guide dog, told police he figured he had walked into a traffic box but soon realized he was being assaulted when Price threw a punch, striking the victim in the face. The victim said he stepped back and threw a punch of his own. Price was at the scene when police arrived, and witnesses identified him as the attacker.
At the time of his arrest, Price had been convicted of 11 prior assaults in 15 years, prosecutors said.
The victim reported pain in his jaw and teeth, according to the document. Police reported him having a small abrasion on his left cheek.
Price told police he acted in self-defense, punching the man because the victim was squaring to fight after the two argued over bumping into each other. However, the victim and witnesses denied there was any prior confrontation.
Price’s attorney, Keith Lauerman, said his client will appeal.