Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Former sex-crime suspect skips sentencing

Court issues arrest warrant for Uriah Zamir

Express Staff Writer

Uriah Zamir Crain

A Hailey man who was accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl last year failed to show up for sentencing Monday and has reportedly fled to Las Vegas.

Fifth District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee issued an arrest warrant for 19-year-old Uriah Zamir Crain, who was free on bond awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in February to felony injury to a child and misdemeanor battery. Crain was originally charged in a Blaine County grand jury indictment with lewd conduct with a minor child under 16 for an alleged sexual assault on the girl on May 1, 2007, in a downtown Hailey public restroom.

"If he waits around a month or two in Las Vegas before he gets arrested and extradited, that's going to make a big difference at sentencing," Elgee said. Likewise, he said, 'it will bear on the sentence if he gets here in the next week or two and voluntarily turns himself in to the sheriff's office."

Crain's guilty pleas were in accord with a plea agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, which will recommend to the court that the defendant be sentenced to 10 years in prison, with three of them to be served before Crain is eligible for parole.

Crain is represented by public defender Christopher Simms, who will ask that his client be sentenced to a "180-day rider," followed by probation. "Rider" sentences are usually served at the North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottonwood, which offers treatment to convicted felons as an alternative to prison.

Simms did not have an explanation for Crain's absence at sentencing.

"I'll do everything I can to get Mr. Crain here," Simms said. "He's the one who put himself in this situation."

No new sentencing date had been scheduled as of Tuesday.

Crain's case is related to another Blaine County criminal case involving three Hailey men who recorded cell phone images of the same girl stripping and dancing in the nude. All three of those men, Joshua Charon Jones, 20, John Paul Silvia, 19, and Skylar K. Vollmer, 18, pleaded guilty to video voyeurism and were placed on probation in February for three years each.

A probable cause affidavit filed by the Blaine County Sheriff's Office in the Crain case alleges that the defendant was shown the cell phone images the day after they were recorded. Crain then allegedly followed the girl into the women's restroom at Alturas Plaza in Hailey and sexually assaulted her.

Crain admitted when he pleaded guilty that he touched the girl underneath her clothing and on her private parts without her permission.

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