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Dentist's Assailant Gets Life Sentences

August 21, 2004|Claire Luna | Times Staff Writer

He remembers nothing of that February night two years ago, when he was kidnapped from a Santa Ana gas station, shot in the head and left for dead in a gully 40 miles away.

But the 2002 assault forever changed the life of Paul Janosik, now 40, a former dentist forced to give up his practice after suffering severe brain injuries.

The three life sentences one of his assailants received Friday in Orange County Superior Court ease the pain somewhat, his parents said, but they also know that life will never be the same.

"Nothing will ever be great," said father Steve Janosik. "The Paul we knew is gone."

Mynor Rolando Cordon-Suchtiz, 25, sat silently in Judge Patrick H. Donahue's Santa Ana courtroom, listening intently to an interpreter's translation of the proceeding. His hands chained to the arms of a chair, he blinked away tears as the translator read aloud letters from his family in Guatemala.

"I feel very bad for what has happened to that gentleman and everything that his family is suffering," he told the court. "I've been praying for his complete recovery."

Cordon-Suchtiz was convicted in March, after a five-day jury trial, of kidnapping, robbing and shooting Janosik on Feb. 5, 2002. The jury concluded that Cordon-Suchtiz drove the dentist to a UC Riverside parking lot, then took him to a drainage ditch and shot him in the arm and head.

Prosecutors say Cordon-Suchtiz and two friends drove away in Janosik's 2000 Ford Focus, living out of the car until their arrest 11 days later.

The other suspects, Marco Monroy of Oceanside and Antonio Coyaza of Santa Ana, both 21, are set to stand trial in September.

Before the sentencing, the interpreter read aloud letters from Cordon-Suchtiz's parents, two sisters and a former teacher. All asked the judge to grant the defendant freedom so he could return to Central America and take care of his invalid mother.

But Donahue gave him the maximum sentence, making Cordon-Suchtiz eligible for parole in 55 years, lawyers said.

"The execution-style shooting of the victim seems particularly callous," the judge said.

Since the shooting, Janosik's parents have moved from their home in south Illinois to live with their son in Mission Viejo. They have had to get to know "a new Paul," said his mother, Sandy.

Their son is now mostly blind, walks with a cane and frequently suffers memory-numbing seizures. Through a Coastline Community College brain-injury program, he has had to relearn everyday skills such as walking and eating. Janosik's old life as a dentist devoted to the youth ministry at his Catholic church, spending his free time riding bikes and paint-balling, is gone.

"He can't do any of those now," his father said. "Not even one of them."

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