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GONZALES — A Gonzales man was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison after he was found guilty of stabbing animals inside a school property in February 2023, Monterey County prosecutors said.

Jose Jesse Marquez, 31, was handed a jail term of 19 years and four months on June 25, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office said. Marquez was previously found guilty of four counts of felony animal abuse with the use of a knife, felony resisting a police officer, and felony burglary.

The court also found enhancements for a prior strike conviction and numerous factors in aggravation as true.

“These convictions constitute four strike offenses under California’s three strikes law, ensuring that the defendant will face life behind bars if he commits another strike,” prosecutors said.

Authorities said that around 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 18, 2023, Marquez rode his bicycle to Gonzales High School and entered the campus to take a tool. He then went to the barn area and stabbed multiple animals.

Marquez held down each animal, which had been raised since birth by students at Gonzales High, and repeatedly stabbed them eight to 10 times in the head and neck with such force that their skulls were broken in multiple places. 

Two lambs died, while another lamb and a pig survived. 

When he was contacted by law enforcement, Marquez refused to comply with officers’ orders and threatened to commit violence toward one of them during jail booking.

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