The Dallas Morning News
Man pleads guilty to beating woman in garage
Statler worker in coma for 2 days after attack with fire extinguisher
The last thing Jonna King remembers was having drinks with coworkers after a shift of waiting tables at the Statler Hotel in downtown Dallas
The 29-year-old mother of two said she has no memory of walking to her car in the hotel’s garage early Sept. 21, 2019, and being bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher.
The man who attacked her and stole her car, David Cadena, 27, pleaded guilty Thursday to carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury and faces up to 25 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in July. Cadena’s attack, which left King in a coma for days, was not his first act of violence, federal court records show.
In 2014, he lunged at his mother and sister with a knife and threatened to kill them, a crime for which he was given probation, court records say. This time, the feds stepped in to charge and detain Cadena after he was released from Dallas County jail on a $25,000 bond.
Cadena, of Laredo, is charged in state court with aggravated robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His attorney could not be reached for comment.
It’s the second time in as many years that the U.S. attorney’s office in Dallas has charged a suspect accused of a violent crime after a state judge set a bond for their release.
Andrew Charles Beard, 33, of Rowlett was arrested last fall by federal authorities and charged with possessing an unlicensed firearm silencer after he was released from state custody after posting bond on a murder charge. Beard is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend in October as she arrived at the Carrollton apartment complex she managed.
Alyssa Burkett, 24, was found with a gunshot wound to the head and multiple stab wounds. The state district judge in that case had set Beard’s bail at $1 million. A federal judge ordered him detained on the federal charge until his trial.
The Dallas District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.
King said in an interview Thursday that she met some coworkers at a tavern across the street from the parking garage on Harwood and Commerce streets after her shift at the hotel. Her last memory of the evening was paying for her drink and getting ready to leave, she said.
King says she awoke from a coma two days later with no recollection of what occurred in the garage. Federal court records describe the events.
A drunken Cadena walked into the garage, grabbed a fire extinguisher from a concrete support pillar and “sporadically discharged white foam from it while ambling about the multilevel concrete structure,” federal prosecutors said.
King walked to her car alone around 2:30 a.m. and encountered him in the garage.
“Jonna’s intersection with an intoxicated, belligerent man — armed with a fire extinguisher and wanting a car — in a desolate downtown parking garage ... did not bode well for the defenseless young mother,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Tromblay in a court filing.
Cadena sprayed her in the face with foam from the fire extinguisher and then beat her in the head with the heavy metal cylinder, Tromblay said in the court document.
He then stole her 2015 Toyota Corolla and drove it around the garage “haphazardly” before crashing it into a wall, prosecutors say. A Statler security guard found Cadena behind the wheel of the wrecked car. Officers found King unconscious on the garage floor in a pool of blood, prosecutors said.
Cadena says in his plea documents that he was heavily intoxicated that night and doesn’t remember what happened.
King spent four days in the hospital intensive care unit, according to a fundraising site. She had worked two full-time jobs, seven days a week prior to the attack and incurred expensive medical bills while recovering, the website said.
King said she suffered nerve damage to the right side of her body as a result of the beating but has now fully recovered from the physical effects of the attack.
“I’m very fortunate. I have no long lasting effects from what he did,” she said.
King called it “ridiculous” that Cadena was able to bond out of county jail on the state charges. She said she plans to be at his federal sentencing to give her victim impact statement. Having no memory of the attack “probably serves me well,” she said. But that hasn’t made things easier for her family, King said.
“I think my husband was more traumatized coming to the hospital and finding me like that,” she said.