A former nurse was convicted Wednesday of two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter and other charges for stabbing his ex-girlfriend and another woman with a screwdriver then barricading himself inside his Indio home two years ago.
Erick Maciel, 33, had been facing attempted murder charges stemming from the March 4, 2017, attack at his home in the 81500 block of Santa Barbara Court, but jurors found him guilty of the lesser counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter.
Maciel was also convicted of torture, aggravated mayhem, domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon for attacking the women, who were identified only as Jane and Mary Doe in court. The attack left Jane with total loss of hearing in her left ear, a broken tooth, a permanently droopy left eye and post traumatic stress disorder, prosecutors said, while Mary's skull was fractured.
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Maciel faces 36 years to life in prison, according to District Attorney's Office spokesman John Hall. Sentencing was set for June 21. Deputy District Attorney Gypsy Yeager argued during the trial that Maciel had planned the stabbings, turning his home into a "house of horrors" for the women.
Eight days prior to the stabbings, Maciel did a Google search for "steroid use and murder" and "steroid users and distrust of their girlfriend" while at a fair with Jane Doe and her son, Yeager said.
He also put two screwdrivers in the pouch of his hoodie before the women came to his home that day, Yeager said.
"This was done, this was planned, this was thought over," Yeager said. "He's putting screwdrivers in his hoodie. Why? Because these girls are not leaving his residence."
Defense attorney Shaun Sullivan argued that Maciel's history of steroid use was the major factor in his behavior on the day of the attack.
"Steroids is at the heart of this case," Sullivan said. "To think that there was no connection between steroid use and the violence that occurred that day is a stretch."
Maciel, a former nurse with two years of experience at Eisenhower Health, testified during the trial that one of the women confronted him while they were moving things out of his home.
"She came up and confronted me and said, 'Do you need help?'" Maciel said, referring to Mary, as the pair of women picked up boxes from his home. Shortly after, Mary pushed the 250-pound Maciel onto the ground, although it is not clear why.
"I immediately got back on my feet," Maciel said. "And, she came at me with a screwdriver," which resulted in a cut at the back of Maciel's head. Maciel claimed the screwdriver was taken from a tool box laying on a piano in the living room, where the confrontation took place.
The pair then wrestled for the screwdriver until Maciel retrieved it. Yeager said Maciel hit Mary in the mouth with the screwdriver and "busted out" her teeth, and also cut her in the throat and ear.
Jane Doe then ran into the living room and was struck in the face with the screwdriver, while Mary ran out of the back door, according to the prosecutor. With the screwdriver in hand, Maciel followed Mary into the backyard and confronted her as she was pinned at a gate.
After a brief struggle, Maciel "inserted the screwdriver into her eye," according to Yeager. Court documents confirm that metal was found in Mary's left eye during a medical examination.
The assault ended when a letter carrier jumped on top of Maciel. Maciel said that following the assault, "it felt like I woke up from a bad dream" and that everything was "one big blur" as he barricaded himself in the home with a knife set and shotgun. Indio police responded to the home at 12:26 p.m., and the women were taken to a hospital.
Maciel said that while he was barricaded in the home, he messaged family and friends to let them know he planned to commit suicide, telling his father that "I can't face my life after this." He then tried to delete his Facebook account because "I kind of just wanted to disappear."
Text messages from that time also show that he admitted trying to kill his ex-girlfriend, Yeager said. Maciel surrendered to police about 3 p.m.