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Sacred Heart man, 45, pleads to second-degree assault

OLIVIA -- A Sacred Heart man has pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and domestic assault-strangulation.

Jose Felix Barajas, 45, entered guilty pleas during a hearing Monday in Olivia. Under terms of a plea agreement, a charge of attempted murder in the second degree was dismissed.

The court approved a stay of adjudication on the assault and domestic abuse charges. If the defendant successfully completes the terms of probation for seven years, the court will impose a gross misdemeanor sentence of 365 days in jail on the domestic abuse charge and dismiss the assault charge, according to the court record.

No felony conviction would appear on his record.

If the defendant should violate the probation, a felony conviction would lead to his being referred to the federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and his possible deportation to Mexico, according to Glen Jacobsen, assistant county attorney for Renville County.

The terms of probation require that Barajas enter a domestic abuse treatment program as well as continue his participation in a program for alcohol abuse and dependency. The defendant is to be transferred from the Renville County Jail to a halfway house facility to begin the domestic abuse program.

Barajas has been held in the jail since being taken into custody in late August. The complaint charges that he had been drinking for three days when a woman came to his residence on Aug. 22 to see if he would accompany her to church.

The two were seated on a sofa and in an argument when Barajas allegedly put his knee on the woman's lap. He grabbed her neck and pushed it back, restricting her breathing while lowering a knife toward her neck with his right hand, the complaint states. She used her left hand to stop the knife from reaching her neck but was wounded.

Barajas allegedly gave the knife used in the incident to his pastor when the clergyman came to his home to speak to him about the incident, according to the complaint. The prosecutor said Barajas has no prior record for violent behavior and the incident was considered to be alcohol-related, for which treatment is being required.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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