Ex W&M Student Convicted of Punching Police Officer to Serve Six Months

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Jesse Valentino Santiago (Courtesy Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)
Jesse Valentino Santiago (Courtesy Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)

A 20-year-old former College of William & Mary student received the mandatory minimum sentence for assaulting a police officer on Lafayette Street last Halloween.

On Wednesday, Judge Michael McGinty sentenced Jesse Santiago to five years with all but six months — the mandatory minimum for a charge of assault on a law enforcement officer — suspended.

Santiago revoked his bond and turned himself in to Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail Feb. 10 per the recommendation of Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Cathy Black, who anticipated a judge would impose the mandatory six-month minimum jail sentence.

Thanks to the time he has served since February, Santiago will complete his sentence in August, in time to begin his studies again at a new university. He will be eligible to play football at the new school in 2016.

Santiago was suspended from the William & Mary football team after his arrest in 2014.

He told McGinty he wanted to “start out fresh” in a “new place” with “new friends.”

Santiago’s mother told the court during her son’s trial in April Santiago was upset on Halloween as his girlfriend had just broken up with him. His friends coaxed him into going to a house party on Lafayette Street in the Williamsburg, where he consumed alcohol.

A Williamsburg Police officer stopped Santiago on Lafayette Street near the Super 8 Motel after seeing him walking with a sway as he was texting on his cell phone, looking for a ride home from the party.

Santiago said at the trial he did not realize Officer Alex Crane was a police officer when Crane asked him for his identification, so he ran away.

When Crane caught up to him and tackled him, Santiago punched him in the right eye.

The assault on the police officer followed two convictions in York County — a misdemeanor reckless driving charge from March 29, 2013 and a petit larceny conviction stemming from a March 9, 2014 incident.

McGinty acknowledged that alcohol was an issue for Santiago in the York County convictions and in the assault of the police officer in Williamsburg.

“Hopefully you’re going to be addressing that,” he said. “This is something you’re going to have to battle and pay attention to.”

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