Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Former rape suspect gets 14 months in jail

Mexican citizen convicted for stabbing alleged rape victim

Express Staff Writer

Neftali Olmos

A Mexican citizen earlier charged with rape was sentenced Monday to 14 months in jail on a conviction of aggravated battery for stabbing the woman during an altercation in a parked vehicle.

The rape charge against 22-year-old Neftali Olmos had been dismissed in a plea agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, whose case was weakened because the alleged victim was later charged in Blaine County with a felony drug dealing offense.

"I think it brings up some issues as far as her credibility," Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback told the Idaho Mountain Express in March, following disclosure of the plea agreement in Blaine County 5th District Court.

The case against Olmos started on Aug. 12, 2007, when he and the 19-year-old woman stabbed each other in a vehicle parked near Olmos' home on west Glendale Road south of Bellevue. The woman, who also claimed she was raped, was transported to St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center south of Ketchum. Olmos, who fled to Rupert, was arrested later at Minidoka Memorial Hospital.

Defense attorney Andrew Parnes, hired by relatives of Olmos, many of whom reside in Blaine County, told the court that "the victim stabbed him first."

"He did not bring the knife to this meeting," Parnes said.

Judge Robert J. Elgee said he could only sentence Olmos for the crime of aggravated battery, even though it is "not abundantly clear what happened." He nonetheless sentenced Olmos to the maximum jail sentence requested by the prosecutor's office as part of the plea agreement. Elgee gave Olmos credit for eight and a half months already spent behind bars.

Elgee also sentenced the defendant to a 10-year suspended prison sentence, which he said will be imposed if Olmos re-enters the U.S. illegally during a five-year probationary period.

At the time of the stabbing, Olmos was in Blaine County on a work visa, which expired last December. He will be turned over to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency at the end of his jail sentence.

Parnes said earlier that Olmos will likely be deported.

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