TWIN FALLS — An eastern Idaho man who beat a friend with a shovel and dumbbell weight in 2013 will serve at least five years behind bars.
James Marquez, formerly of Twin Falls, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for aggravated battery after a lengthy and emotional sentencing hearing Friday. Five of those years will be fixed, and the other 10 indeterminate.
Marquez pleaded guilty in November to aggravated battery for his role in an incident on Jan. 23, 2013, when he beat Michael Flynn with a dumbbell weight and shovel during a dispute at his then-home in Twin Falls. Flynn suffered severe internal injuries from the beating and was placed in a three-day medical coma as a result.
On the night of the incident, Twin Falls police responded to Marquez’s home on Arrow Wood Court, where they found Flynn wounded and covered in blood. Flynn 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.
Questioning and arguments at Friday’s sentencing hearing largely revolved around Marquez’s character and the nature of the dispute between Marquez and his wife.
She testified that the argument was just that, and that her husband was a “great man” who was not violent with her that night or any other night; another friend of the couple’s who was at the house that night previously told police that Marquez was “screaming” at his wife and “tossing her around.”
Prosecuting attorney Kiel Willmore requested the maximum sentence for the aggravated battery charge: 15 years fixed in prison. The defense asked Wilper to grant Marquez probation but impose a period of incarceration in the county jail; the suspended sentence would be 3 years fixed and 5 years indeterminate.
In a statement to the court, Marquez said he was “ready to move on” from the incident.
“I’m not a monster that people try to paint me out to be,” Marquez said. “I’m a loving husband and a great dad to my kids.”
In explaining his sentencing decision, Wilper said he had taken into consideration that “some aspects of [Marquez’s] character certainly are good.”
“I’m not sentencing Mr. Marquez as though he is a career criminal or irredeemably bad,” Wilper said.
However, he continued, “I think that a lesser sentence would depreciate the seriousness of the crime.”
Marquez was taken into custody immediately after the hearing.