A Madison man who used sulfuric acid to cause severe burns to another man last year was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison.
Matthew R. DeJesus, 32, pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree reckless injury for the incident on June 22, 2018. He was originally charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
Under a plea agreement, both Assistant District Attorney John Rice and state Assistant Public Defender Guy Cardamone agreed to ask for the three-year prison sentence, followed by three years of extended supervision. Dane County Circuit Judge Susan Crawford largely agreed with the proposed sentence but ordered DeJesus instead to spend five years on extended supervision, because she said there needs to be added protection for the public from someone who would commit such an act.
The prison sentence and extended supervision will begin after DeJesus finishes serving another sentence of three years in prison and five years of extended supervision he is currently serving. DeJesus received that sentence earlier this year when the probation he was serving for a stabbing he committed in 2011 was revoked.
The acid incident involved a conflict between DeJesus and his former girlfriend and her then-boyfriend. Cardamone said the woman and man had been at DeJesus’ apartment on Madison’s Southwest Side the night before to get some of the woman’s belongings, but returned early the next morning. Cardamone said she and the man agitated DeJesus and threatened him.
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DeJesus was scared, he said, and threatened the man with a bottle of acid, but the man was not deterred. A fight ensued, Cardamone said, and DeJesus poured the acid on the man, getting some on himself as well.
Rice said, however, that DeJesus had researched acid on the internet and knew exactly what it could do to the man. The man, he said, suffered first- to third-degree burns over 20% of his body from the commercial-grade sulfuric acid and was hospitalized for a month.
The man and woman have had little contact with prosecutors, Rice said, and because they have left Wisconsin and would not have come to testify at a trial, he was left with little choice but to amend the charge against DeJesus to reckless injury. They were not in court Wednesday and have not provided any victim impact statements to the court.
While Cardamone provided a lot of background to the situation, which included charges that the woman maligned, abused and manipulated DeJesus, “that doesn’t diminish the severity of the actions you took,” Crawford told DeJesus. “You chose to use the most severe weapon you could get your hands on that day.”