Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mental evaluation ordered for postal worker

Man pleads guilty to 3rd no-contact order violation

Express Staff Writer

Douglas R. Larsen

A judge has ordered a mental evaluation for a former Sun Valley postal worker who has been accused of stalking an employee at Veltex Market in Ketchum and repeatedly violating no-contact orders pertaining to the woman.

Douglas R. Larsen, a 43-year-old former Idaho Falls man, pleaded guilty Monday to his fourth misdemeanor crime against the woman. Blaine County Magistrate Court Judge R. Ted Israel ordered a mental evaluation and declined to release Larsen from jail on his own recognizance.

Sentencing was set for Sept. 28. Larsen remains incarcerated on $75,000 bond.

"Frankly, the strong admonition does not seem to work because I admonished him several times before to stay away from this girl and he still didn't do it," Israel said. "I do believe a mental evaluation is something we need to do."

According to Blaine County court records, Larsen was convicted in January of misdemeanor second-degree stalking against the woman. He was sentenced to 36 days in jail, fined $1,335 and placed on two years probation. A no-contact order was also issued, stipulating that Larsen was not to contact the woman nor be within 300 feet of her.

Larsen was also convicted twice in January of violating the no-contact order. In each instance he was fined $75.

His latest arrest was on Feb. 19 on a felony stalking charge.

According to a Ketchum Police Department report, Larsen's vehicle was found parked near Lefty's Bar & Grill, about a block and half away from Veltex Market. Police also alleged that Larsen had called the woman that night at Veltex.

Larsen was scheduled to go to trial last month but a plea agreement was reached instead. The Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office agreed to have the stalking charge dropped in return for a guilty plea to a third no-contact order violation.

Larsen pleaded guilty to the charge Monday but provided the court with an explanation.

"I didn't even realize I was within 300 feet," Larsen said. "I didn't knowingly park there. I just parked in the first available stall. If I had known, I would have never done that."

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback alleged that Larsen knew the woman's work schedule and was intentionally in the area.

"My immediate concern is that Mr. Larsen has been in custody before and when he got out of jail he immediately violated the no-contact order with the same individual," Fredback said. "With his criminal history and his conduct, I think someone needs to take a look at him. I think he's a danger to himself and the community without a mental health evaluation.

"Even when he was in jail, he was trying to have third-party contact with that girl."

Israel said during the hearing that he is tempted to impose the maximum sentence of one year in jail.

Terry Smith:

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