Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Plea bargain is likely in stabbing case

Express Staff Writer

Cesar Rojas Briceno

A tentative plea agreement has been reached under which attempted murder charges against a man accused of a brutal double stabbing would be reduced to two counts of aggravated battery.

Cesar Rojas Briceno, 21, of Jerome, was arrested Sept. 18 after he allegedly inflicted multiple stab wounds on his estranged wife, Shery Livia, and her boyfriend, Nestor Quiñones. Quiñones remains hospitalized in stable condition at St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center.

During a preliminary hearing Tuesday, public defender Cheri Hicks said Rojas would probably plead guilty to the reduced charges. However, she said he wished to discuss the matter with his family before doing so. The hearing was continued to Nov. 15.

The maximum penalty for aggravated battery is 15 years per count. Additional time can be added for the use of a deadly weapon.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Warren Christiansen said Rojas had made a taped confession to police.

Also at Tuesday's hearing, Judge Michael Redman denied a motion by Hicks to reduce Rojas' $250,000 bond to $25,000.

Hicks told the court that if her client were to plead guilty, he would like to spend some time with his family before going to prison. Hicks said the attack was not premeditated and Rojas did not pose a threat to the public.

"I think we can all agree that it was a crime of passion, an argument that went too far," Hicks said.

However, Redman cited the severity of the charges and the high likelihood of flight in denying Hicks' motion.

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