Rockets fan got what he deserved with 4 years in prison, prosecutor says

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Friday, September 11, 2020
Rockets fan who sucker punched Pelicans coached sentenced
A Harris Co. prosecutor said the fan got exactly what he deserved for assaulting a coach and "embarrassing the city of Houston."

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The man who was arrested and charged for punching a New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach in the head last year has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Manuel Garcia, 39, was originally charged with misdemeanor assault after he punched Joe Boylan as the Houston Rockets wrapped up their win against the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019.

SEE MORE: Video shows Rockets fan's sucker punch of Pelicans coach

Watch video of Rockets fan punching Pelican coach.

Nathan Beedle, Harris County District Attorney's Office chief of the misdemeanor division, told Eyewitness News that a judge sentenced Garcia to four years in prison because he was on probation for felony sexual assault when he punched Boylan on national television.

The victim in the sexual assault case, who happened to be Garcia's sister-in law, and Boylan testified during the trial before Garcia was sentenced to the maximum punishment.

"He has, in my view, demonstrated the inability to follow basic rules in our society. While he was under strict rules to perform certain obligations, number one of which is not to commit a law violation or a new law violation. He did so on national television, embarrassing the city of Houston by assaulting a visiting team's assistant head coach. He got exactly what he should have received, which was the maximum sentence in this case," Beedle said.

The Rockets have since banned both Garcia and his girlfriend at the time, Brittney Aplin, for life. Aplin was accused of preventing police from getting to Garcia during the time of the incident.

SEE ALSO: Former justice of the peace charged after allegedly slapping Yankees fan

The victim spoke to ABC13's Miya Shay, recalling what happened during that confrontation.