Documents detail the night that led to Sioux City man’s death

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Court documents have detailed what happened the night a Siouxland man was assaulted which later led to his death. 

Ray Avila, 24, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault causing serious injury, both class D felonies. These charges were filed in connection with the death of Peter Johnson, 31, of Sioux City, in downtown last summer. Avila had allegedly assaulted Johnson and unintentionally caused his death.

The documents say that just before 2 a.m. on July 29, 2018, police found a man hit a window of a blue Integra on the north side of the 1100 block of 4th Street. The man told police he was the owner of the vehicle and was locked out of it. Police confirmed it was the man’s vehicle and then left. 

A resident of the apartments across the street from the vehicle started recording video on a cell phone, reportedly worried that the person was trying to break into someone else’s car. The video recording and witnesses then reported that Johnson “performed a two-legged kick” on the man trying to break into his own vehicle. Documents then say a melee then occurred with Johnson saying he thought the man was trying to rob the car. 

Another cell phone recording shows Johnson and the other walking away from each other when Avila confronted Johnson and then hit him in the face. This caused Johnson to fall backward onto the sidewalk, according to court documents. Avila then fled the scene. The man with the Integra and a companion also fled the scene.

A woman told police she was driving south on Court Street when Avila, who she knew from high school, approached him and said he “just laid a [person] out” and needed a ride.  She did not give a ride to Avila and continued on her way. 

A witness called 911 and reported the assault. Johnson was taken to the hospital. Documents said an attempted was made to alleviate the pressure and bleeding on the brains and a surgery was performed. Johnson later died. 

The Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy. They said that after being knocked down by the punch, hitting the sidewalk caused a ring fracture in the base of Johnson’s skull. They ruled Johnson’s death as a homicide to the injury to his head. 

Avila is being held in the Woodbury County Jail on a bond of $50,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 19. If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison and fines of $15,000

Read the complaint and affidavit below:

 

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