Accused kidnapper's trial concludes

The trial for accused kidnapper Pedro Ochoa-Mendoza has come to a conclusion.

Ochoa-Mendoza, of Sunnyside, entered Alford pleas this past Tuesday, Jan. 2, and was found guilty of first degree kidnapping, first degree robbery and indecent liberties, according to Deputy Prosecutor Steve Keller. An Alford plea is when a defendant doesn't admit the act, but agrees that there's sufficient evidence that's likely to lead to a conviction.

The charges stem from an Oct. 5, 2005 incident in which a 58-year-old woman was kidnapped while jogging in the Scenic Drive area in Yakima. Once the incident was publicized, a teen came forward to report an attempted kidnapping in the same area.

Keller said the first degree kidnapping charge applied because the intent was to hold the victim for ransom. Keller said that Ochoa-Mendoza did try to call the victim's family and demand ransom.

Heriberto Martinez is also accused in the same incident and his trial date is set for Feb. 20.

Ochoa-Mendoza hasn't been formally sentenced, but he and his attorney have agreed not to fight the recommended sentence of 89 months in prison, with an additional 24 to 48 months of community custody. Community custody differs from probation in that the subject is overseen by the Department of Corrections.

Ochoa-Mendoza's formal sentencing date is Feb. 9.


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