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Romero plea postponed; defendant disputes facts of case

Attempted entry of a plea agreement in a bizarre episode of violence in Bullhead City was recently postponed when the defendant disputed the recitation of the facts of the case provided by Deputy Mohave County Attorney Karolina Czaplinska.

Czaplinska said that Luis Romero, 26, Bullhead City, and two unidentified males pulled behind a vehicle that was parked in the 2000 block of Highway 95 last Sept. She told Mohave County Superior Court Commissioner Billy Sipe that Romero approached the vehicle and assaulted the front seat passenger through an open window.

Czaplinska said that the 22-year-old male victim retreated to the rear seat of the vehicle whose unidentified operator began driving as Romero entered the vehicle and continued the assault, striking the victim in the head with brass knuckles. She said the vehicle later came to a stop and that the victim was pulled out into the street and kicked and beaten some more.

The man eventually escaped and was taken to a hospital where glue and staples were used to close two gashes to his head. Czaplinska said investigators were not able to determine a motive for the violence or identify other involved parties.

Terms of the plea agreement dismissed multiple assault counts and a kidnapping charge in exchange for a conviction on a single aggravated assault conviction. An agreed upon 3.5-year prison term was to be imposed at sentencing.

Romero, however refused to accept Czaplinska’s offering of a factual basis for the plea bargain. Romero said he did not use brass knuckles and that no one else was involved in the assault.

Judge Sipe said he could not accept the plea agreement when the defendant did not agree to the facts of the case. Defense attorney Ray Lundberg expressed confidence that the contested issues will be resolved and that a plea agreement can be entered at the next hearing scheduled March 29.

– Dave Hawkins