Pitonyak’s ex-roommate gets 30 years for robbery
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.