A Pasco man is being held on $25,000 bail for allegedly breaking a man's jaw when the victim said he couldn't pay off his drug debt.
Mario Samaniego Cantu, 32, pleaded innocent Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court to second-degree assault. Trial is scheduled for Oct. 16.
Court documents also show he uses the names Mario Samaniego and Mario Cantu Samaniego.
Victorino Gutierrez told Pasco police he owed $40 to Samaniego Cantu in exchange for marijuana, and on Aug. 8 "was checking in" with the suspect to let him know he couldn't pay yet, documents said.
Gutierrez only identified Samaniego Cantu by a nickname, but showed Officer Rodrigo Pruneda the Park Street neighborhood where the suspect lives and where they met in the front yard that day around 10 a.m. The victim also described the suspect and said he reportedly just got out of the Franklin County jail.
Gutierrez said when he told Samaniego Cantu he didn't have the money, Samaniego Cantu became upset and started arguing with him and then punched him on the left side of his face, court documents said.
Gutierrez said he became very dizzy and was bleeding, but Samaniego Cantu wanted his money and said he would follow the victim around until he was able to come up with it, court documents said.
Gutierrez told police he was scared and thought Samaniego Cantu would hurt him more, so he went to a friend's house to get away from him, documents said.
Police were called a couple of days later after Gutierrez went to Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco to get treated for his broken jaw. It was broken in two places and he needed surgery to wire it together.
Gutierrez was able to look at the GPS on an officer's cellphone and give him an idea of where the attack occurred. Pruneda zeroed in on one address and a police database search showed that someone associated with that home was released from jail on July 26.
Gutierrez also allegedly picked Samaniego Cantu out of a photo lineup, court documents said.
The suspect's mother allegedly confirmed seeing her son talking to another man in the front yard two days earlier, heard a disturbance and then saw the other man leave with a bloody mouth, followed by her son.
Samaniego Cantu allegedly told police that he let Gutierrez have a watch for $50 but he wasn't paid back "in a timely manner." So when he saw Gutierrez walk by his home, he confronted the man about the debt, felt he wasn't being taken "serious" about the repayment and hit Gutierrez once with his fist, documents said.
Samaniego Cantu claimed he didn't know Gutierrez's name and only knew him from the neighborhood.
w Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricity herald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer