GALVESTON — A man convicted of attempting to sexually assault two island joggers last year avoided prison time when a jury Tuesday sentenced him to probation.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated about three hours before agreeing on a 10-year sentence and a $20,000 total fine for Christopher Adrian Vela, 25, in the Aug. 13, 2012, attacks in the 4700 block of Seawall Boulevard and at 51st Street and Avenue N ½.

The jury, however, probated the prison time, giving Judge Lonnie Cox, of Galveston’s 56th District Court, the full range of the maximum punishment if Vela violated the terms of his probation.

Cox, at Vela’s formal sentencing, ordered the defendant to serve 180 days in the county jail, among a host of other conditions of probation.

Prosecutors Kacey VanDeaver and Kayla Allen sought four years of prison time for Vela in what they called “sneak attacks” on women he didn’t know, following a night of heavy drinking. 

Although the women’s names were mentioned in court, The Daily News does not identify victims of sex crimes. 

The first woman attacked in the pre-dawn darkness on the seawall testified last week that Vela grabbed her from behind and took her to the ground.

She fought back, tearing a piece of Vela’s shirt off as he attempted to pull down her shorts, testimony revealed. Vela’s DNA was found on that piece of clothing, Allen said.

The second woman attacked shortly thereafter was unable to identify Vela, who carried her 44 yards before she struck him with a metal pipe she carried to fend off dogs. Vela dropped her and ran. Investigators arrested Vela two days later after he came to Galveston police headquarters.

Authorities found Vela’s DNA on the metal pipe, testimony revealed.

Vela faced from two to 10 years in prison on the two counts of attempted sexual assault. 

Sam R. Cammack III, Vela’s defense attorney, told the jury the case was a “poster child for overcharging someone with a crime,” and he urged the jury to consider probation.

The jury decided on 10 years of probation, as Vela had no previous felony convictions. Vela must also register as a sex offender for 10 years after his probation expires.

Cox also ordered other conditions of Vela’s probation, including performing 160 hours of community service, attending alcohol and psychological counseling.

Vela must also wear a device that detects alcohol consumption and provide a DNA sample.

(41) comments

Mojo Boogie

So sad.

Mark Johnson

Are you kidding me? What a poor decision and wasted opportunity to let this poor excuse of a man walk free.
Any bets as to how long it takes this scumbag to attack another woman?

Michelle Puckett

The reason these crimes perpetuate is because the criminals have little consequence to their actions. It's so very tragic for the victims.

Jim Forsythe

Some would rather take the time and not probation. If he misses up he could have to do the whole 10 years. He will have to pass drug screen and report in on what he is doing with life. Also his DNA is on record.

John T Pilkington Jr

I can't believe what the public falls for now. If it was your wife, girlfriend, daughter or Grandaughter or just a friend. You are no kind of man for allowing this to happen. Where did they release him to should be everyones question?

John T Pilkington Jr

This is crazy. Lock him up before he trully hurts someone. Are you people nuts.


Oh so I guess if he were a successful rapist, he would've actually done time. Hmmm, something doesn't seem right? I suppose someone did a great job with displaying the story of this criminal...


There should be a big sign erected up there coming from HOUSTON, just before you get to League City, city limits saying: "YOU ARE ENTERING Galveston County, Texas, HAVEN FOR CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR,....COME ONE COME ALL!! " Prosecuting criminals in this county has slipped beyond a JOKE!

Carlos Ponce

I did not hear any of the testimony, only what I read in the GDN but I do not understand this sentence. I pray no one is attacked in the future by this perp but a tiger does not change his stripes. This does not bode well for the safety of anyone on Seawall Blvd. nor for Galveston's tourism. I hope the judge puts one of those GPS ankle bracelets on him for the rest of his life.


Unless,......well, I've said enough![wink]

Jim Forsythe

What men are you talking about? Is it the 4 on jury? As you ( unless you were present)and I was not, I guess its not us.
If you have ever been on jury, remember what the judge told you to not to predetermine guilt or innocence of the person until all evidence is presented. Then all 12 would come to verdict. Then judge would so ok to the sentence.

So who are you talking about?
Do you think we should go out and hunt him down? I would hope not.
Just asking what you would like to happen now.

Kevin Lang

At this point, we can tinkle and moan all we want about whether the sentence should be a bit harsher, or perhaps a LOT harsher. However, our justice system is in the jury's hands, and this one believed that probation should be adequate for this guy. While his guilt or innocence or the nature of his sentence is not in our hands, his future is shared by him, his family, friends, and acquaintences, and to an extent, us. Everyone around him needs to help him maintain his conscience. We have no right to impede his progress in life, but no one should hesitate, if we see him going astray, to nudge him in the right direction.

Helping to guide someone with his record may not be our idea of a good time, but the alternative--him attacking someone else and getting a lot further along than he did with these two women--is a far worse alternative, even if that alternative means he gets a life sentence. The best alternative for society is for this jury to be proven right.


How do we know the suspect wants help? You can't help someone who does not want to be helped! I'm just glad that neither of the victims of his vicious attacks pulled a concealed weapon and shot him dead, because this same jury, using the logic they displayed so far, would have in my opinion, SENT THE VICTIMS TO PRISON!
So it is for this twisted, UNTOWARD generation we are living in! Isaiah the prophet said, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" --Isaiah 5:20.
Now, I respect your opinion, but don't bother trying to sway me off mine. I keep wondering what would have been my fate IF it was me, who attacked those women?
The devil's Chief Demon would have been there, coaching the jury against me!

Kevin Lang

If you see him scouting, run him off. If you see him drinking, knock the drink to the ground. If you see him with a leering gaze, slap some sense into him. You're right that, ultimately, he's responsible for his change, but that doesn't mean that we can't help persuade him.

Now, if all we do is ignore him and totally outcast him, chances are great that he'll gravitate to what comes naturally, which probably won't be what the women in society would welcome.

If his life is to be a living hell, his conscience and his lord will see to that. It's not our place.

Lars Faltskog

Well, for all of us who has had the fortunate (or unfortunate) experience of being called for jury duty in our county, we would discover how procedural all of these things seem to be.

Upon reading this verdict and the things the judge has ordered Vela to do, they sound like things that any reasonable society would impart. Would we just about all want more punishment for this degenerate? Yes....with the likely exception of his family who probably are relieved that he's not doing "hard time". Yes, it is true - as another poster said, if he had been a "successful rapist", the outcome would have been different.

As it is, he appeared to have been a sick individual who gets his jollies out of grabbing women and exposing them. Simply throwing him in jail for a year or two...would that be best suited for him and for society as a whole? Probably not. Counseling, community service, and alcohol bracelets are rulings that any procedural entity would impose.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Might well be that Kev has a good idea that this lad needs "nudge". If the 2nd victim had had a tad more leverage when she "nudged" him with the piece of pipe, the public would be spared concerns for their future safety.

Both locations of his attacks were way too close to my home and my wife. I guess the jurors live a lot farther away...

Kevin Lang

I definitely think he probably deserved to get a harsher sentence. But, what we think he deserved and what the jury gave him probably don't match.

Either with this sentence, or life behind bars, the ultimate goal is for him to never try to harm anyone again. There are a lot of different means to that end. This may not be the easiest or most desireable, but it is what we're faced with.

Ann Derek

A time bomb has been put back into the community... only a matter of time until he attacks again.

Dru Walters

I understand the shock and disbelief but we must believe in our justice system. The fact that there were eight women and four men that decided his fate gives me comfort. If it had been eight men and four women, I might have felt differently. I was not in the court room and you can only get so much information from the newspaper and they're in the business of selling the news. We need to trust the jury to make the right decision and we need to show up for jury duty when called upon. It's a slap in face to criticize or second guess the jury who has shown up and done the work. As a woman, it could not have been an easy job and I thank them.

Jim Forsythe

“Prosecutors Kasey VanDeaver and Kayla Allen sought four years of prison time”. If he was given 4 year he could have been out in 2 years (if it is still 50%). Subtract any time served and he might have been right back out on street with how much probation time?


Well I guess I have heard it all now! I wonder if the victims of what happened think justice have prevailed. I wonder if an individual's WIFE or TEENAGE daughter had been one of the victims,...they would feel probation was the ticket, punishment necessary! Five will get you ten,...nothing good will come out of what was done, and SOMEBODY's loved one will become another victim,.....because of it!
Not long, ago a Judge, outer state, blamed a female teenager for a male adult teacher raping her,..and essentially allowed the rapist to go free. The young lady ended up committing suicide. The Judge essentially blamed the victim of that crime, FOR THE MALE PERP RAPING HER! Some are now upset about the extreme leniency by the court shone to the PERP!
However,...on second thought,...why in the HELL should anybody have the unmitigated gall to question the sentencing of that court? The Judge by his actions, and oral statements, much as said the teen caused the whole thing. Juries can do that too! I'm done with this! It is enough to make an individual vomit seeing how people are regressing in this society, as far as holding criminals accountable for their actions. Can't blame the District Attorney's office for this one!

George Croix

WHEN he does it again, what will the excuse makers say then?
Personally, I wish the lady joggers had been carrying their own jury with them, and found this creep guilty on the spot.
Zero recidivism for sex offenders, recently deceased.

Kevin Lang

JBG, while you may be right, there's no way for you or any of us to undo what the jury decided. While it's quite likely that, left to his own devices, he will strike again, the jobs of him and his community is help make sure he's not left to his own devices. We can certainly pray that God wins out over Satan in the battle for his soul, but we don't have to just stand by and let him attack other women just so we can happily say that we told them so.

I'd be perfectly happy if we're proven wrong in our predictions that he'll do it again. Isn't this one time you'd like to be wrong, too?

Steve Fouga

Maybe his ineptitude contributed to the jury's leniency...

Miceal O'Laochdha

My dearest galvgal: your extraordinary gender bias bigotry is deeply offensive to the 99.9% of males on this earth who find raping a women to be reprehensible and sub-human.

Your clear implication that men condone other men who rape, and therefore had there been more of men on the jury you would not have experienced as much COMFORT in the verdict, is astounding.

God help the women out there when this weasel improves his ineptitude with practice.

Dru Walters

I am sorry to have offended you and upon self reflection, I can see how it could be interpreted as such. Rape is serious crime and I should not have discriminated against men. That was flat wrong. I’m sincerely sorry. Looks like I have my own trust issues to deal with.

MG Tex

MR JBG I love your passion, and appreciate your wisdom ... However remember to "Trust in the LORD with al your heart, and lean NOT on your own understanding. For HIS is the way of righteousness ... Prov 3: 5 -7 ...

I feel your your emotion, and agree with your thoughts, but remeber it is HIM that delivers peace, and those that call on Him WILL receive it ...

God bless you Mr JBG. We must pray that MR Vera's heart is pricked and that he allows God's light to shine in to and through him. I also pray that the love we have continues to shine through and trust in HIS ways ...

Jim Forsythe

For the one’s that did not think the sentence was right, what would you have done?
Gone for 2 years 3 years 4 years (10 years max..
Sounds like they were all on board with probation as it took them 90 min. How long would you have held out for if it was 11 to 1?
If you were the Judge what would you have done?
I have been on jury were they asked for 15 years max. and I started out saying I wanted him to get 25 years the max. would have been 99 years. It took us 2 days (12 hours) to come up with 7 years, as most wanted probation.

Lars Faltskog

Response to miceal o'laochdha posted at 12:19 pm on Wed, Oct 30, 2013,
Response to glvgal posted at 9:25 am on Wed, Oct 30, 2013:

Well, now here's an interesting debate - what constitutes a "fair" or "unfair" trial in relation to the gender and/or racial make-up of the jurors. The Trayvon Martin case was such an example. There are those who felt that African-American representation/involvement was non-existent in that trial.

I am of the camp that one can find sympathy and fairness with another person who is NOT of his/her gender or racial make-up. Let's think about our youth or anything where we got a "break" or assistance from someone who wasn't of our demographic arena.

When that schoolyard bully made your recess unbearable, didn't a teacher who didn't look like you nor share your gender help you the most? The police officer who made sure you weren't followed by those thugs out of the bar to possibly commit a personal robbery - that policeman wasn't someone you originally would think would "have your back", wasn't he?

I think we need to step back and realize that the justices served in humanity can come from anyone who crosses the racial and gender line. We also need to realize that females can also be abusers, also can condone it, or hide away from its reality.


You know something Mr. Lang? I said was done here, but I just had to lay this out there. The REAL fight for this man's soul is not between GOD and the DEVIL! If it was, GOD would win hands down, because there is no power in the universe nowhere equal to, or greater than HIS!
"There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD."....Proverbs 21:30. That includes the Devil himself! The real fight is exerted within the soul where the mind is located! Change the way a man thinks, you can change a man's will, change a man's will, his actions will go with it!
All men are awarded the same amount of faith, and what they do with growing or increasing their own faith and knowledge of righteousness is up to each individual man! Romans 12:3.
3). "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to EVERY man the measure of faith."
Nobody can change YOU, BUT YOU! It is the same reason people make mistakes marrying people with the intentions of CHANGING them,...only to realized after a divorce and many painful moments of a disastrous relationship later,....they were wrong!
Only a fool can stop being a fool, seizing the opportunities around him/her to improve their lives, watching, comprehending, learning,...and hard work at training their flesh/evil desires/soul to be submissive to righteousness and love of mankind!
God sent His Son into this world and He finished His plan and His work for salvation, redemption, and righteousness through the principles of union, substitution and identification at the cross.
It is up to each individual in this world to either accept what was done or to deny what was done on their own. Nobody can deny that work for me,...I HAVE TO DO IT ON MY OWN, OR ACCEPT IT ON MY OWN!
There is much training and sharing of information which should be included, to be sure,..and not enough in my opinion! This is why I do my part, in the sharing of information needed for change and care zero about what a man thinks of me for doing so! In fact I get off when someone does not like what I say!
Now lets sum up my position here. It is a battle in every individual, if he is saved, the battle is between his inner spirit and his flesh/soul as to HOW that man will live his life, and the things he will accomplish, do good or bad, while he lives!
If he is unsaved,...the battle is between his conscience and flesh/soul, and the information, knowledge, he learns,..and the environment he places himself in will determine what direction he will take! If a man is conformed to the world, and the way the world does things,..he is going to THINK AND ACT LIKE THE WORLD, WHICH IS INFLUENCED BY SATAN HIMSELF! If he learns right thinking, allow himself to be around proper environments,...he will travel the right pathways of life!
In short ( Romans 12:2) a man MUST renew his OWN mind in order to be NOT conformed to this world's way of thinking, and actions,...but be TRANSFORMED or TRANSMOGRIFIED by using righteous information, concerning faith and love to be legitimately changed into a different person!
Now, I'm done! If I keep going I'll have to start charging,..I'm not playing either!
JBG has exited the thread ladies and gentlemen!


Amen MGTEX! AMEN! Music to my ears!

Lars Faltskog

That's it...I'm TRANSMOGRIFIED. I've seen the light. Thanks JBG! But, JBG won't know it 'cause he's left the thread for good!

Or has he? Here's a test to see if he really has: From here on out I will end every other posting with "GOD BLESS".

George Croix

Normally, a jury doesn't get to hear squat about the past misdeeds of the 'defendent' unless they are directly related to the case at hand. Musn't allow a jury to be influenced by what has been before.
In this case, they get to be influenced by what had not been before. Much was made by the attorney for the defense that his client has "no previous felony convictions". The so-called punishment meted out considered that.
Wow! So, it's come to this? He deserves leniency because this is his FIRST FELONY CHARGE!!!!
So, how many times does one get to try to rape a woman before he gets time behind bars in these 'progressive' times in which we live? Then again, maybe he was just on a panty raid, and was misunderstood...twice...

Jim Forsythe

Most felony trials are broken into 2 parts. The 1st part is the guilt or innocence
part and they are restricted in what they can present.
The 2ed phase is the sentence part. This is were the past can be introduced.
This was how it was when I was on a first felony case.
As this was a 3ed degree felony it most likely was the case.


I had to come back on this thread to thank sverige1 for working with old JBG on some of these issues! I appreciate it, you see. He and I might join the Tea Party soon! Ohhh don't be surprised!!!!!
Now,,.....ahhh,....we don't know see! Things can change! Don't be ...lolololol

Kevin Lang

Wake me up when we're done second-guessing the jury. I think I'll re-join when we're ready to move everyone forward. Unless, of course, someone figures out a way to re-write the jury's sentence. It seems obvious that nothing can be right in the world until we have him hanging from the tallest tree with fireants nibbling at his toes and mosquitoes at his eyeballs. If we can't get it after this conviction, heck, we'll wait until he's had a chance to rape a few more women, because, after all, we want justice done, regardless of how ever many others have to suffer before him.

George Croix

'Incredible' can mean both 'extraordinary' and 'difficult or impossible to believe'.
In the case of that last one, looks like both fit the bill...[ohmy].
Personally, if I expected mustard on my take home burger, and saw mayo instead 15 miles and a half hour down the road later, I'd eat the burger, but still try to be sure they got it right next time.
The serenity prayer can be both a crutch for status quo and a springboard for better things to come.
All depends on who's reciting it...
Picture one of the two victims (or the guy's NEXT one to come) as YOUR daughter or wife or girlfriend, and then try to repeat that... that...whatever that attempt at a comment was, with a straight face and a keyboarded smirk of disdain.
Can you?

Miceal O'Laochdha

Thanks for the review / revision of your viewpoint galvgal. Apologies are kinda rare around here, and your response is much appreciated.

When an issue inspires strong emotions or fears, we can all get a little far out on the branch before we realize it. I am as guilty of that as anyone, and no doubt more than once.

Walter Manuel

I've been sitting back and reading both sides of the debate and appreciate everyone's comments.

I have to wonder if Galveston county residents appear to be more lenient in their sentences then say Harris county or some other larger county would be since we don't see this type of crime being committed in our area as you might expect to see there more routinely?

Just curious?


Mr. Manuel, ...excellent observation. Let Ole JBG try this one and if I miss it I'll call in the "A" Team. The way I see it, if we are not having this kind of problem here, then WE should take the necessary steps and actions to MAKE ^&% SURE WE DON'T HAVE IT AGAIN here,...and not take steps which will be conducive to encouraging others to commit the same offense, this suspect did! Ahhhh but this is Galveston County,...I keep forgetting.
I wonder if they will consider putting that sign up I suggested yesterday,..warning people before they cross that line? Heyyyy! It might increase the population up-off-in here![wink]

Walter Manuel

Amen Mr. JBG!

LOL, I've been thinking about how that sign might work either for or against Galveston County since you mentioned it.

After all, I see a sign on a fence on my way home to LM all the time that reads, "Welcome to the speed trap capitol of Texas".

The sign does indeed make one wonder if it's true or not?

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