Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Suspect pleads guilty to lewd conduct

Prosecutor to recommend 25-year prison sentence


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Robert Cochachi-Macha

A 26-year-old Hailey man accused of multiple sex crimes last summer against a 7-year-old girl admitted in court Monday to having sexual intercourse with the child.

In exchange for a guilty plea to felony lewd conduct with a minor child under 16, the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office agreed to have two other felony charges—rape and sexual abuse of a child under 16—dismissed against Robert C. Cochachi-Macha.

Blaine County 5th District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee advised Cochachi-Macha that lewd conduct with a minor child is punishable by up to life in prison. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback told the court that the prosecution will recommend at 25-year prison sentence, with 12 years to be served before parole eligibility.

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Sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 7. Cochachi-Macha's guilty plea averted a jury trial that was scheduled to start Tuesday.

Cochachi-Macha was charged with three sex crimes against the girl from an encounter on the evening of July 16 at her home on Woodside Boulevard in Hailey. According to court records, Cochachi-Macha was renting a room from the girl's family.

Cochachi-Macha, a Peruvian native with legal residency status in the United States, remains incarcerated in the Blaine County jail on $100,000 bond. He has been in jail since his arrest on the morning of July 17. He was indicted on the three charges on July 29 by a Blaine County grand jury.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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