Friday, June 15, 2007

McQueen sentenced to 90 days in jail

Sentencing follows guilty pleas in Hailey stabbing case

Express Staff Writer

Ricardo O. McQueen

A man accused of stabbing two brothers during a fight behind a Hailey bar last fall was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in jail.

Sentence was imposed following guilty pleas by 30-year-old Ricardo O. McQueen to two counts of misdemeanor battery. Two felony charges of aggravated assault were dismissed against the defendant as part of a plea agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

McQueen is a Bahamian native and former Ketchum resident who now lives in Florida. He had been accused of stabbing brothers Rodrigo Herrara, 29, and Pier Herrara, 24, both of Hailey, during a fight around 2 a.m. on Sept. 30 behind The Mint Nightclub and Billiards Hall on Main Street in Hailey.

A jury trial had been scheduled to begin on Tuesday, June 12, in 5th District Court in Hailey, but was canceled after the plea agreement was reached a few days earlier.

McQueen entered his guilty pleas and was sentenced during a hastily convened court appearance in Magistrate Court on Wednesday morning. The reason for haste was not clear, but court records allege that death threats had been made earlier by unspecified parties against the defendant.

Judge R. Ted Israel sentenced McQueen to 180 days in jail on each of the battery convictions, but suspended 135 days on each charge, leaving a balance of 45 days apiece. Court records state that the sentences are to be served "consecutively," meaning one after the other. McQueen was given credit for three days already spent behind bars.

He was also ordered to serve four years probation, two years for each conviction, fined $600 and ordered to pay an unspecified amount of restitution.

Court records state that McQueen is to report to the Blaine County Jail by 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 16.

In a related matter, the Idaho Attorney General's Office has declined to pursue charges against the Herrara brothers, who were suspects in the severe beating of a Pocatello man at The Mint on Jan. 28. The case had been referred to the attorney general by Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas because it represented a potential conflict of interest.

"There is insufficient evidence to support or prove criminal charges against either Pier Herrara or Rodrigo Herrara in this incident," Deputy Attorney General Stephen Bywater wrote to Thomas in a letter dated Wednesday, June 13.

Attorney General's Office spokesman Bob Cooper called the timing of the letter "most likely coincidental."

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