Villarreal sentenced up to 16 years in prison



By Chad Abshire

RAWLINS — A man convicted on eight of nine charges during an April trial was sentenced Monday in Carbon County District Court, with Judge Wade Waldrip denying a continuance in the matter.

Frank Villarreal, 48, of Rawlins will spend up to 16 years in prison for his convictions of aggravated assault and battery, reckless driving, battery, counts of taking a controlled substance into a state penal institution for cocaine and heroin possession with intent to deliver heroin, possession of heroin and possession of cocaine.

Villarreal’s assault and battery convictions run concurrently with each other, as do his drug convictions, but run together consecutively. That means the four to eight years he received for assault and battery are on top of the two to eight years he received for taking drugs into the Carbon County Jail.

The most time he can spend in prison is 16 years — the fewest is six.

His attorney, Joe Bustos of Cheynne, faxed a request just hours before the hearing for a continuance in the matter — something that displeased Waldrip.

Bustos appeared in the case in May, but did not represent Villarreal at trial. Villarreal’s attorney during trial was D. Richard Helson.

Bustos said he didn’t “want to offend the court” in his late notice, but rather he was wanting to “take a close look” at the case.

“Since May you’ve taken a close look,” Waldrip responded.

Bustos initially said he was “timely” in his continuance filing, but Waldrip disagreed.

“You consider a few hours before we hear this case to be timely?” he said.

Bustos admitted he was late and apologized. Waldrip ultimately denied the continuance.

“It’s denied,” he said. “We’re going to have sentencing today.”

Bustos sought probation for his client, saying his most recent violent conviction was in 1990, but added that had a few misdemeanors since then. Bustos also said Villarreal had kids, as well as issues during his incarceration that he claimed made him a good candidate for probation.

Prosecuting Attorney Dawnessa Snyder, however, argued that Villarreal was not fit for probation, citing as much from the pre-sentence investigation report which stated the same.

Snyder said Villarreal’s “vague answers” during questioning for the pre-sentence investigation, along with previous bouts of “not keeping up” with probation officers on top of a violent criminal history made probation impossible.

“He has proved he is a violent person time and time again,” she said.

Villarreal’s assault and battery case stemmed from an incident that occurred on the south side of Rawlins in early September 2015, when Robert Flores was allegedly run over by a vehicle driven by Villarreal. Flores sustained a severe injury to one of his legs, which was broken in several places, a police affidavit stated.

Villarreal must also pay more than $44,000 in restitution for medical costs to Memorial Hospital of Carbon County.

Villarreal’s drug charges stemmed from when Villarreal’s cellmate, Joshua Golden, said Villarreal offered him cocaine and heroin in the jail. Jail officials confiscated three individually wrapped packages of a dark brown substance and a clear plastic package containing a white granular substance.

During trial, Villarreal did not offer any explanation about how heroin and cocaine turned up in his cell shortly after he was booked into the jail. He simply denied having the drugs or offering them to his cellmate.

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