By Andy Sevilla
This story contains graphic depictions; reader discretion is advised.
A Hays County jury has sentenced a man to life in prison for slitting his girlfriend’s throat with a box cutter and coming close to causing her death, the district attorney’s office said.
After only 20 minutes of deliberation, a jury convicted Zane Lynn Barton, 30, of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon on Aug. 20. A day later the jury sentenced Barton to life in prison.
“Our endeavor is and has always been to be a leader in the prosecution of crimes against women,” Hays County District Attorney Sherri Tibbe said in a statement. “Making a difference in the lives of thousands of victims, survivors and their families is the best reason to serve Hays County.”
The San Marcos Police Department arrested Barton on May 16, 2013, after they said Barton slit his girlfriend’s throat with a box cutter after cutting the letter x several times into her face and hand.
The victim described the cold blade and hot blood dripping from her neck as Barton placed her on all fours, Tibbe said. The victim then passed out and miraculously survived the evening.
The attending emergency room physician testified that the difference between life and death for the victim was a matter of one to two millimeters.
Barton also is said to have relentlessly beat his victim with the buckle end of a belt, and hit her with rocks on the face and head, according to Tibbe’s statement.
Authorities said the victim convinced Barton to let her receive medical treatment for her injuries, but only after promising her abuser that she would tell police a stranger committed the brutal attack.
After walking from the remote bridge where the couple had made their camp near the Wal-Mart in San Marcos, the victim flagged down a passerby who transported her to the emergency room, authorities said. She was later released to her family and away from Barton when she decided to identify her abuser to police.
Barton was previously incarcerated for engaging in organized criminal activity, Tibbe said. Jail records show he has been in Hays County custody since his May arrest last year, and was being held on $1 million bond for his aggravated assault charge.
Barton also was being held on two felony burglary of a habitation charges out of Kimble County, jail records show.
Laura Garcia and Brian Erskine, of the Hays County District Attorney’s Family Justice Division, prosecuted the case for the state.
“In the case at hand our Hays County jury determined that life in prison was appropriate for Mr. Barton,” Tibbe said. “… We urge anyone in an abusive relationship to be safe and use any practicable method to reach out for help, including abuse hotlines, shelters, and contacting law enforcement.”