TWIN FALLS — An eastern Idaho man accused of beating another man with a shovel and dumbbell in 2013 pleaded guilty on Monday to a felony count of aggravated battery.
James Ernie Marquez, 41, was first charged in early 2013 after attacking Michael Flynn, during a dispute at Marquez’s then-home in Twin Falls. Flynn suffered severe internal injuries from the Jan. 23 beating and was placed in a three-day medical coma as a result.
The initial charge against Marquez — aggravated battery causing great bodily harm or disability — was dismissed by prosecutors for unknown reasons later that spring. In October of 2015, prosecutors filed a new charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and issued a warrant for Marquez’s arrest. He was arrested the following August.
On the night of the assault, Twin Falls police responded to Marquez’s home on Arrow Wood Court, where they found Flynn covered in blood with large, open wounds on his head and face. He told police that he and Marquez had gotten into a fight after Flynn tried to break up a domestic dispute between Marquez and Marquez’s wife. During the fight, Flynn told police, Marquez had bludgeoned him repeatedly with a shovel and a dumbbell weight.
Flynn told investigators that Marquez had thrown the first punch, rendering him unable to fight back, and told him during the attack that “he was going to kill him.”
According to Marquez’s version of events, as told to police at the time, Flynn punched him first. Marquez told police that he used the weight and shovel to fight Flynn off.
The blood evidence indicated that Flynn’s claims were more accurate than Marquez’s, a detective noted in a sworn affidavit.
At a hearing on Monday, Marquez’s attorney, Samuel Beus, said that while Marquez still maintains that some of the beating was done out of self-defense, he admits he “went beyond what would qualify as reasonable force.”
“That night ... I got in a fight with a man that used to be my friend, and I beat him up pretty bad,” Marquez told Twin Falls County District Judge Randy Stoker at the hearing. “I’m here to make things right.”
In exchange for Marquez’s guilty plea, the state has agreed to dismiss the enhancement for the use of a deadly weapon.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 9.