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Man gets probation on burglary, crim sex charge

WILLMAR -- Jose Luis Zepada-Caballero, 25, of Willmar, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Friday for felony first-degree burglary and gross misdemeanor fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct for entering a home and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in May.

Zepada-Caballero was sentenced in Kandiyohi County District Court to 27 months in prison, which was stayed, 10 years of probation, a $1,050 fine and 183 days in the county jail. He was given credit for 183 days already served in jail and ordered to cooperate with agents from the federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Under a plea agreement, Zepada-Caballero, who is also known as Carlos Antonio Nevarez-Lopez, entered an Alford plea to the charges. Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but does acknowledge there is likely enough evidence for a jury to convict. A felony perjury charge and gross misdemeanor and misdemeanor charges of criminal sexual conduct and giving a false name were dismissed.

Zepada-Caballero was first charged with both first-degree burglary and first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection to the incident. The charges were ordered dismissed by Judge Donald M. Spilseth, who determined there were not sufficient facts to support the charges.

Less than a week later, Zepada-Caballero was charged again, with first-degree burglary and second-degree criminal sexual conduct, the latter charge was later dismissed.

According to the complaint, police were called during the early morning hours of May 23 to a home along the 600 block of Third Street Southwest, where a 13-year-old girl reported she was sexually assaulted by a man who jumped out of a bedroom closet, took off his belt and pushed her down to the bed, pressing his penis against her. The girl kneed the man in the groin and yelled, causing her brother to come to check on her. The man then jumped out of a second-floor window and climbed down a tree.

Police investigators followed a trail of nicknames and aliases to Zepada-Caballero, who was identified in photo lineups by both the girl and the brother.

The perjury and false name charges were filed after the investigation on the criminal sexual conduct charge revealed that Zepada-Caballero was using the false name, had appeared in court on fleeing an officer, property damage and other charges four times. The complaint also says that the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has information that Zepada-Caballero is from Honduras and is in the country illegally.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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