Former Austin bar owner gets probation for wounding DJ with sword


A Travis County jury sentenced a former Austin bar owner to probation for wounding a local DJ last year, sparing him a prison sentence as he treats mental health issues.

Shusaku Shiroyama, 32, testified that he was suffering from a manic episode when he attacked the DJ — his former friend and business partner, Miguel Torres — at Torres’ East Austin apartment with a samurai sword and a dagger.

Shiroyama told the jury he was defending a woman who testified in the trial that Torres had beaten her on several occasions when she was dating him. Torres, while on the witness stand, denied hitting the woman.

“Probation was the goal,” said Shiroyama’s attorney, Matthew Shrum. “This was related to his mental health and the outrage for domestic violence. We thought that probation and his continued mental health treatment were most appropriate from the beginning and we’re really happy this Travis County jury agreed.”

A psychiatrist testified Friday that Shiroyama was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after the incident and has been doing well with treatment. In asking for probation, Shiroyama told the jury he would continue living with his family in San Antonio.

The sentence came one day after the jury convicted Shiroyama of burglary of a habitation with intent to commit aggravated assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. They acquitted Shiroyama of a second count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection to an allegation made by a friend of Torres’ who entered the apartment during the attack and said he was threatened and chased by Shiroyama.

Shiroyama, who was a ownership partner at Moloko Bar, faced five to 99 years in prison on the burglary charge and two to 20 years on the assault charge. He was eligible for probation because he had not previously been convicted of a felony.

A formal sentencing date will be scheduled after the probation department assesses Shiroyama’s case, who was taken into jail Thursday when state District Judge Julie Kocurek revoked his bond after the conviction. After reviewing the assessment, Kocurek will determine the probation’s conditions, which could include up to 180 days in county jail. If Shiroyama violates the probation, the judge could send him to prison for up to 10 years.

In closing arguments to the jury in the trial’s punishment portion, prosecutor Andrea Austin had said probation was inappropriate and pointed to another accusation made against Shiroyama by a Fasten driver who told police Shiroyama pulled a gun on him, a month before the attack against Torres, over a dispute about the route the man was taking. Shiroyama admitted to the dispute, but said he did not threaten the man with a gun.

Shiroyama faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in that case, which is pending.



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