Saturday, June 26, 2010

Anger Counsellor gets a year in prison for pulling gun

Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.
A respected domestic violence and anger management counselor in Fairfax County was sentenced in federal court on Friday to 12 months in prison for pointing a gun at two deputy U.S. marshals, officials said.

As part of his sentence, Jose L. Avila, 57, will have to undergo anger management of his own.

Avila is a single parent and former priest from Colombia who was highly regarded by judges in the Fairfax Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Judges and lawyers often referred people to Avila for pretrial or probationary counseling, particularly because he is bilingual.

Avila pleaded guilty on April 13 to charges of assaulting a federal officer.

On Jan. 25, Avila honked his horn at two marshals who had just returned to their cars after completing a witness interview on Americana Drive in Annandale. Avila left the scene after one of the deputy marshals waved him around.

Avila then turned his car around and pointed a loaded gun. The marshals arrested Avila and recovered the firearm after a brief pursuit.
For those who don't recall this deliciously ironic story...
Avila allegedly encountered two deputy U.S. marshals outside an apartment complex on Americana Drive, near Little River Turnpike and the Capital Beltway, at 9 a.m. Jan. 25. In a court affidavit, Deputy Marshal Floriano Whitwell said he and another marshal, Matthew M. Dumas, had been conducting a fugitive investigation and parked their sport-utility vehicles in designated parking places on Americana Drive.

Dumas got out of his vehicle and was standing at the window of Whitwell's vehicle when a white Jeep Cherokee drove up and the driver honked his horn, Whitwell wrote. Dumas, with a marshals service "badge clearly visible hanging from his neck," motioned for the Cherokee to continue past. But then the Cherokee turned around and came back, Whitwell wrote.

The driver appeared to be motioning to Dumas, so the marshal moved closer. Then, Whitwell wrote, Dumas "noticed that Avila was aiming a gun at him. Avila was holding the gun and resting his hand on the top of the door with the driver's window completely open," the affidavit states.

"Gun, gun, gun!" Dumas reportedly yelled to his partner, and Whitwell said he looked up and saw "Avila pointing the dark colored firearm in our direction." Avila drove off, and the marshals pursued him and pulled him over.

The marshals identified themselves and tried to arrest Avila, but he was "uncooperative" and "continued to resist arrest and refused to give me his hand which was under his body," Whitwell wrote. The marshals feared that a gun was beneath Avila, and they used "U.S. Marshals Service defensive tactics to eventually apprehend Avila," Whitwell said.

Found on Avila's seat, Whitwell alleges, was a 9mm Astra A-90 pistol loaded with 14 hollow-point bullets. Once out of his vehicle, Avila reportedly apologized profusely and said he had "never done anything like this before," the affidavit said.
Of course when he got to court, he denied it all. The magistrate found probable cause to charge him though, and ordered him held as he was both a flight risk (he's Columbian) and a potential danger to the community.
State records show that Avila has been a licensed professional counselor since 1994 and a licensed marriage and family therapist since 1998.
Avila should have kept his temper in check. He should have been cool, like this:

Now that's cool.


  1. Heh heh. Irony is so ironic.

    I used to have a Billy Jack hat and a 45 of One Tin Soldier. Yeah, I really am a geek.

  2. This is funny. And sad. But still funny.

  3. Unbelievable... or maybe not in this day and age... sigh...