A felony battery case against a Shelley man ended Monday after months of delays.
Delfino Cruz, 23, was sentenced to two to 12 years in prison for the rape of an intoxicated woman on Aug. 14, 2016. He was charged with rape where the victim was asleep or unconscious. The charge was reduced to battery with intent to commit a serious felony following a plea deal.
The case was marked by repeated delays, with the attorneys reaching a plea deal the weekend before a jury trial was set to begin.
Cruz’s bond was revoked in January after Chief Deputy Bonneville County Prosecutor John Dewey argued the defendant had been putting off the psychosexual evaluation and was “shopping around” for a polygrapher who would give Cruz favorable results.
The plea agreement was dependant on Cruz passing a polygraph test while being asked about the rape and other potential victims. Dewey said in court Monday that Cruz had performed poorly on his polygraph.
The victim delivered an impact statement describing how the rape had changed her.
“My life was permanently and negatively impacted by the actions of Delfino Cruz,” she said.
The victim said Cruz took her confidence and self-worth. She said her performance at work has suffered because of the stress, that she has had difficulty forming trusting relationships. She lived in fear when Cruz was on the run, worrying that he would come to her home or office, and that she felt fear when seeing a blue car resembling Cruz’s.
Cruz was extradited from Chicago after charges were brought against him.
“The dress I was wearing had emotional value. It reminded me of home,” the victim said. “Now it just reminds me of terror.”
Cruz has maintained his innocence throughout the case, choosing an Alford plea that requires him to acknowledge a jury would find him guilty without admitting to the crime.
Cruz said Monday that there had been something between him and the victim, but it was not forced.
“I don’t feel that I should have to admit to something I didn’t do,” Cruz said.
Defense Attorney Kyle Hansen argued his client should receive probation or a rider program instead of prison time.
“The defendant thinks that is greater than what is necessary in this case,” Hansen said.
Hansen said his client regrets what happened and would act differently if given the chance.
“Admittedly he hasn’t accepted full responsibility… but he has accepted sufficient responsibility,” Hansen said.
Dewey argued for prison time, saying probation for a rape case was not proper punishment and would reduce the seriousness of the crime. He argued Cruz had been deceptive and uncooperative even after pleading guilty.
“I don’t think he’s shown sufficient remorse, so I don’t think this is someone the court can look at for probation,” Dewey said.
District Judge Dane Watkins Jr. rejected retained jurisdiction that comes with a sentence to a rider program, saying that for Cruz would have to admit he had committed a sexual offense as part of the program’s treatment, in contrast to his Alford plea and his statements to the court.
Watkins also was critical of Cruz for continuing to run afoul of the law since the case began, including a misdemeanor for disturbing the peace in Bingham County. Watkins said Cruz’s crimes following the rape charge made it seem unlikely he would be deterred by probation or retained jurisdiction.
Cruz was charged a $1,000 fine. Watkins also ruled he must pay restitution for the medical and therapy bills incurred by the victim.
Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.