16 years for shooting, machete attack over 'blood feud'

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry man who shot another man and attacked him with a machete in an alleged blood feud that started in Mexico has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Armando Ferral-Mujica, 21, previously pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a firearm, a Class X felony, and had faced between six and 30 years in prison. He entered a blind plea, meaning there was no deal with prosecutors as to his sentence, and an attempted murder charge was dropped in exchange for the plea.

Charges against his brother, Orlando Ferral-Mujica, 32, remain pending. That case had been scheduled for trial last month but was postponed after the defense attorney withdrew because of health issues.

According to police, the attack happened Dec. 3, 2011, outside Jesus Agaton’s apartment at 3701 James St., McHenry.

Agaton’s girlfriend and now wife, Senaida Castaneda, dropped him off about 8 p.m. after he finished work so he could change clothes. She waited for him, police said.

The Ferral-Mujicas are accused of shooting Agaton once in the chest near the heart. The bullet passed through his chest and lodged in an arm, near the armpit.

At one point, the gun jammed, and Agaton was attacked with the machete, prosecutors said.

He was struck in the head and the face along the left jaw line, and one of his thumbs was nearly severed. He was able to get away and jumped into the back seat of the car driven by his girlfriend.  

Agaton was released from a hospital about four days later.

At the sentencing, defense attorney Dan Hofmann outlined two factors in the attack: Agaton allegedly killed the Ferral-Mujicas’ uncle in Mexico in what Hofmann said a blood feud between families. And Agaton’s now-wife previously was in a long-term relationship with a man who might have solicited the attack, Hofman said.

McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said her previous relationship continues to be investigated and no charges have been filed against the man.

Kenneally said Agaton continues to suffer headaches and is traumatized by the attack.

Hofmann said the alleged killing by Agaton of the uncle was provocation. The uncle’s death left three daughters without a father, he said.

“Although it doesn’t excuse or justify criminal conduct, it is a factor in this matter,” he said.

In handing down his sentence, Judge Gordon Graham noted that a doctor’s report said one of Agaton’s injuries was millimeters away from a significant artery. 

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