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BREAKING NEWS

Machete case gets plea bargained

By Staff | Feb 6, 2009

Legal maneuvering will mean no trial for a 48-year-old Blue Earth man accused of wielding a machete at four teens and chasing two of them while driving a van.

Defense attorney Troy Timmerman also hopes the plea bargain will keep Jose Ignacio Martinez from being deported.

Timmerman says he and an immigration attorney worked with County Attorney Brian Roverud on the agreement.

“Both sides agreed he shouldn’t be deported. Some people should, but he’s not one of them. It was a matter of working out the details,” says Timmerman.

On Monday, Martinez pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor assault charges and one count of obstructing the legal process, also a misdemeanor. Martinez was originally charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and three counts of making terroristic threats.

The assault charge has a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and $14,000 fine, while the threats counts each have a sentence of five years and a $10,000 fine.

Under the agreement, Martinez could serve 360 days in the county jail and would be placed on probation for one year. He will serve jail time before being turned over to immigration officials.

Martinez also would be eligible for work release and Sentence to Serve programs.

Speaking through an interpreter, Judge Douglas Richards asked Martinez if he understood the conditions contained in the four-page plea proposal.

“You still could be subjected to deportation. The court can not guarantee you will not get deported,” Richards told Martinez.

During the court hearing, Martinez told Richards he is sorry for any problems he has caused and apologized to law enforcement officials.

According to a court complaint, at 10:18 p.m. Nov. 1 two police officers responded to a weapons threat reported on East Rice Street.

A male and female told the officers that while walking past the garage of a residence on North Rice Street, a Hispanic man came out and started yelling in Spanish and chasing them with a machete.

The accused then got into a van and chased the couple to the back of the police department building with the machete outside the vehicle window, says the complaint.

When authorities went to the North Rice Street residence they found Martinez inside the garage and reportedly saw a machete leaning against a chair and bottles of alcoholic beverages.

Martinez remains in custody while a pre-sentence investigation, which will include victims’ statement, is completed.