Pitonyak’s ex-room­mate gets 30 years for rob­bery

Austin American-Statesman - - LOCALBRIEFING - By Steven Krey­tak

Colton Pitonyak’s for­mer room­mate was sen­tenced in Travis County on Wed­nes­day to 30 years in prison for a 2007 ag­gra­vated rob­bery af­ter state District Judge Char­lie Baird found him in vi­o­la­tion of his de­ferred ad­ju­di­ca­tion, a form of pro­ba­tion.

Ja­son Mack, 28, pleaded guilty in 2008 to ag­gra­vated rob­bery in an Oct. 7, 2007, in­ci­dent at the Plaza de Mex­ico game room on U.S. 183.

The deal came af­ter a jury found Mack guilty of evad­ing ar­rest but ac­quit­ted him of two counts of kid­nap­ping and one count of ag­gra­vated rob­bery and failed to reach a ver­dict on two ad­di­tional counts of ag­gra­vated rob­bery.

Mack ad­mit­ted at that trial that he par­tic­i­pated in the rob­bery but said men who threat­ened his preg­nant wife had forced him into it.

Pros­e­cu­tor Jim Young said that on July 2, 2009, Mack was ar­rested at the Stay­bridge Suites Ho­tel on In­ter­state 35 in Round Rock af­ter he was found passed out with 24 grams of metham­phetamine and a semiau­to­matic pis­tol.

Charges in that case are pend­ing in Wil­liamson County, but af­ter a hear­ing this week, Baird found that Mack vi­o­lated his pro­ba­tion by hav­ing the gun and drugs. Baird could have sen­tenced Mack to up to life in prison.

Pitonyak, a for­mer Uni­ver­sity of Texas stu­dent, is serv­ing 55 years for murder in the death of Jen­nifer Cave, a 21-year-old le­gal as­sis­tant. Cave was found with her head and hands cut off in the bath­tub at the Orange Tree con­do­minium that Pitonyak and Mack shared on Rio Grande Street at 25th Street.

Pitonyak’s friend Laura Ashley Hall, also a for­mer UT stu­dent, was con­victed in 2007 of tam­per­ing with ev­i­dence and hin­der­ing ap­pre­hen­sion in the murder. Her orig­i­nal sen­tence was thrown out on ap­peal, and on Fri­day, she was sen­tenced to 10 years in prison on the tam­per­ing charge and one year for hin­der­ing ap­pre­hen­sion. The sen­tences will run con­cur­rently.

Dur­ing Hall’s ini­tial trial for tam­per­ing with ev­i­dence, her lawyer com­plained that po­lice never in­ter­viewed Mack as a sus­pect in the case.

Dur­ing her sen­tenc­ing re­trial Thurs­day, Hall’s lawyers read Mack’s tes­ti­mony from the pre­vi­ous trial in which he said Pitonyak had threat­ened to kill Hall days be­fore the murder.

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