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Felony charges dropped against Former Sterling, Illinois teacher

STERLING, Illinois - Prosecutors dropped the charges against a Lee County man charged with attempted murder.

Last year Mario Garnica was accused of trying to kill his boyfriend at the time, Benjamin Brainerd. Investigators claimed he assaulted and stabbed Brainerd back in February of 2015.

Brainerd told his story to News Eight last year, saying it happened during an argument with Garnica.

"That's when he snapped and grabbed the metal pipe and started beating me with it and after he broke both of my arms I couldn`t keep my hands up anymore to protect myself he came there with a knife in his pocket and he pulled it out," said Brainerd.

Brainerd was in a coma for nine days. Garnica was arrested and his trial was set for September, 2016.

However, the special prosecutor for the case made a decision to dismiss all felony charges. Instead Garnica agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

"We have maintain throughout the last several months that the prosecution did not have evidence sufficient to warrant continue prosecution or conviction in this case," said James Mertes, Garnica's attorney.

Garnica had been a first grade teacher in Sterling before the charges were filed.

He now says he is looking forward to putting the pieces of his life back together and moving forward, "I'm very happy, absolutely happy."

Garnica has been placed on 12 month court supervision.