A Fort Wayne man charged in a road rage incident that turned deadly last year escaped the most serious charge against him today.
Brandon Cook, 28, punched Orlando Fernandez after the two were in traffic at the busy U.S. 30/Goshen Road intersection Aug. 8, 2018. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor battery, and witnesses testified this week they saw Cook leave his Dodge pickup, go over to Fernandez's black Ford Mustang and punch him at least four times.
Jurors deliberated for about five hours before finding him not guilty on the manslaughter charge, which carried a penalty of up to six years in prison. They returned a guilty verdict on the battery charge, and he could be sentenced to up to a year in prison when he is sentenced next week.
Doctors said during a three-day trial that ended this afternoon the beating led to the heart attack that killed Fernandez, who was on his way to visit family for his son's birthday celebration.
Defense attorney Bart Arnold questioned whether the punches thrown caused the heart attack.