BOISE -- The Boise man who admitted attacking two women at the Boise Towne Square Mall last spring must serve at least 15 years in prison.
Fourth District Judge Patrick Owen handed down a 30-year sentence today for Gregory Macho. He will not be eligible for parole for 15 years.
On May 14, 2013, Macho assaulted a woman in the mall parking lot and hit another woman with his truck when she tried to stop it. He then tried to alter his truck's appearance to try to avoid capture, but was arrested on June 5th.
Macho pleaded guilty to four felonies in October, including aggravated battery and destruction of evidence.
Victim: 'Words alone cannot describe all the trauma'
In court on Tuesday afternoon, the gallery was crowded with people including the two women who were attacked. Angela Smoot was the woman who rushed to intervene as Macho attacked a 22-year-old stranger in the mall parking lot.
Smoot spoke in court, saying she wanted to tell Macho what happened, since he says he can't remember due to the influence of drugs and alcohol. She said she wanted to tell Macho about that day because she will never forget those horrifying moments.
"Mr. Macho has no idea how much anguish, difficulty and heartache he has caused," Smoot said in court. "Words alone cannot describe all the trauma, the worry and the fear he created. In an instant, our lives were dramatically changed because of what he did to us."
She explained what happened when she was leaving the mall with her 5 and 7 year old sons on May 14. She said she saw Macho speed by in his truck, jump out and go toward the other woman in her car. Initially, she thought they knew each other, but realized the woman was in trouble. She put her kids in the car and went to see what was happening.
As she rushed to help, victim's young children watched
"[My son] said, mom, please don't go. It's not safe. But I went anyway. I should've called 911 first, but I felt an urgency to get back to her car, and without thinking it through thoroughly, I went," Smoot said.
She says everything happened fast: She saw the woman in the car crying and screaming with Macho on top of her. Smoot yelled for him to stop and tried to call 911 or get his license plate number.
"During the time I was looking down, he got back into his truck, accelerated and swerved into the parking spaces where I stood. He could have fled the scene, but he chose to run over me," Smoot said.
Victim thought she was dying in front of her sons
She saw the truck coming and says she remembers watching his truck go over her body. She couldn't believe she was still alive and couldn't get up. She described the impact was so severe that her shoes were in the parking lot, off her feet.
"The impact of his truck literally knocked me out of my shoes, and I realized I might be dying of internal injuries and didn't even know it yet," Smoot said. "I knew my kids were watching from the car, and I prayed, don't let me die in front of my kids. I'm not ready to die."
She remembers her son rushing to her and telling him she doctors would 'fix her'. Strangers gathered to help call her husband and care for her kids while paramedics came to the scene.
A lasting impact: Victim's family still feeling fear and financial impacts
Smoot was hospitalized for three weeks, according to prosecutors. She says she had to be in wheelchair for some time and will require ongoing therapy. She had to relearn how to walk.
"What Mr. Macho did still haunts me. My leg is a constant reminder. And I believe his intent was to kill me. It's impossible to keep my mind from going back to that day at the mall. I replay what he did over and over," Smoot said. "I know how lucky I am, and I am thankful to be alive, but just because I survived it, it doesn't lessen the severity of what he did, what he tried to do, and what he intended to do. It makes me fearful of what he may do again if given the opportunity."
Smoot says her kids are still afraid of parking lots and big buildings. She continues to incur costs not covered by insurance and can no longer work. Prosecutors asked for more than $150,000 in restitution.
Prosecutor: Macho made calculated choices to hurt people
Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Cathy Guzman asked the judge to sentence Macho to 40 years behind bars, with parole eligibility only after 20 years served.
"This defendant is lucky, in my opinion, that he is not here for murder, for rape or something... Especially given the fact that if what he says is true, he doesn't remember, and he says he was angry at that time," Guzman said.
Guzman told the judge Macho had made calculated choices that made victims of those two women and impacted the whole town, especially since it took weeks to find Macho.
"The whole community was alert. There were businesses that were losing out because people were afraid to go to the mall," Guzman said.
Defense attorney: Prison is appropriate, but Macho wants treatment too
Macho's attorney asked for treatment options, but agreed prison time was appropriate. He wanted a 30 year sentence with parole eligibility after five years.
"This case is horrific in almost every conceivable way and it has ongoing ramifications that even go beyond homicides in a number of ways, and I would like to stress that that is something that is not lost on Mr. Macho," Mike Lojek, Macho's attorney, said.
The attorney said Macho is open to substance abuse treatment, which the attorney said hadn't been a part of previous sentences for prior crimes. Macho chose not to make a statement when given the opportunity by the judge.
Judge: 'You did this on purpose.'
Ultimately, the judge said his biggest concern was Macho's actions that day, especially running over a woman trying to stop an assault.
"The part that I'm very concerned about in trying to find an appropriate sentence is why you tried to do that, and you succeeded," Judge Owen said. "You did this on purpose. You had a clear way to get out of that parking lot without damaging anybody more than you had already done."
Macho's friends and family, including his ex-wife, have written letters to the judge saying that he was not an angry person and the crime was out of character. All factors in mind, the judge said his sentence of 30 years was to combine punishment and the opportunity for rehabilitation.
Macho may appeal his sentence within 42 days.