KETCHUM — Police say a man injured a deputy at the county jail after being arrested following disorderly conduct complaints from multiple bars.
Shannon L. Rowland, 47, faces misdemeanor charges of resisting or obstructing officers and disorderly conduct after deputies from the Ketchum Police Division received multiple calls Tuesday from bars in the city about an intoxicated patron. They had a similar call from a hotel, according to a statement from the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office.
While Rowland was being booked at the Blaine County Detention Center, he kicked the arresting deputy, causing a serious injury, the statement said.
The felony charge of battery on certain personnel was added.
Rowland was arraigned on Wednesday and released on pretrial supervision.
RUPERT — Police say a Rupert man hit a woman with an AR-style rifle, splitting her face open, and then for 15 hours refused to let her leave to get medical help.
Jeremiah Luther Baker, 44, is charged with felony domestic violence battery with traumatic injury and misdemeanor false imprisonment, according to court records.
Police were called to the emergency room Nov. 24 to talk to a woman involved in a domestic violence situation. An officer said they found the woman lying on a hospital bed with a doctor cleaning and closing a large laceration that extended from her right temple to her over her left eye.
The woman told police that she and Baker had used methamphetamine and Baker became “very paranoid” and accused her of working with someone he’d had problems with in the past, court documents say.
He then started hitting her and threatening her, the woman said.
The woman said he hit her in the head with the stock of an AR-type rifle and refused to let her leave from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m. the next afternoon. He eventually took her to a friend’s house and the woman’s mother took her to the hospital, court records say.
A preliminary hearing is set at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 4 in Minidoka County Magistrate Court.
BOISE — A Buhl man has been sentenced in federal court to spend at least five years in prison.
Larry James Cline, 31, appeared before U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill on Nov. 19, according to U.S. attorney’s office statement.
Cline was charged as part of “Operation Snake Byte,” a state and federal operation conducted in Twin Falls County.
In early April, Cline responded to a social media post from an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl. After receiving photos of the “girl” and her address, Cline traveled to the address, where he was arrested.
He pleaded guilty in August to a charge of attempted use of interstate facilities to transmit information about a minor.
Cline will spend five years in federal prison, then another five years of supervised release. Winmill also required him to surrender his cellphone.
Two other men from the Magic Valley were also convicted and sentenced as part of the investigation.
Yabet Arizmendi-Sanchez, 33, of Buhl, was sentenced in October to five years imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release.
James Cory Koyle, 41, of Burley, was sentenced Nov. 7 to 10 years imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release.
Agencies involved in Operation Snake Byte were Homeland Security Investigations, Twin Falls Police Department, Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office, Twin Falls County Probation Office, Idaho State Police, United States Postal Inspector’s Service, Rupert Police Department, Jerome County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Criminal Intelligence Center, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations, Twin Falls County Prosecutor’s Office, and United States attorney’s office.
BURLEY — The former director of The Senior Junction senior center will serve 12 months of probation on a charge of aiding in a misdemeanor.
Catherine Ann Walcroft was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in jail with 90 days suspended, placed on probation and given a $200 fine. A request for restitution to the center will be left open for 90 days, according to court documents.
Walcroft was sentenced under a plea agreement with the state.
She was originally charged with grand theft after police said she stole more than $1,000 from the senior center. Police said she stole money through multiple methods between January and November 2017.
Documents said she stole from the senior center by paying for personal items with handwritten checks, taking cash without permission and by using a financial card for things she was unauthorized to purchase.
BURLEY — A jury trial set to begin on Wednesday for a Burley man accused of multiple counts of lewd conduct with a child was postponed until a judge can determine if the man is indigent.
Antonio J. Delacruz, 20, was charged with five felony counts of lewd conduct with a child under the age of 16 in August 2018, according to court records.
A judge agreed Wednesday to vacate the trial and set a status conference for 9 a.m. Jan. 27 in Cassia County District Court.
According to court records, Delacruz’s attorney requested an alternate district judge to review Delacruz’s financial requests regarding him being indigent, which caused the trial delay.
The trial date was not reset.
According to police, the boy, then age 9, told officials during a child evaluation that he was about four years old the first time Delacruz raped him. Delacruz was 13-years-old at the time. The boy said the abuse continued until he was 8 years old.
HAILEY — Police are looking for a missing 33-year-old woman and a 9-year-old boy who have ties to the Wood River Valley.
A nationwide arrest warrant has been issued for Olivia G. Barkes, who also goes by the last name Phelps, on felony custodial interference charges, Hailey Police said in a Wednesday morning Facebook post.
They believe the 9-year-old, Logan Barkes, is traveling with her.
Anyone with information about either person is asked to call Hailey Police at 208-788-3531 or email Assistant Chief Steve England, firstname.lastname@example.org.
BOISE — A Boise woman who has repeatedly run for elected office in Idaho — most recently challenging Gov. Brad Little in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary and appearing as a write-in candidate in the general election — was booked into jail on Tuesday on three charges.
Ada County sheriff’s deputies arrested Lisa Marie, 56, on outstanding warrants for petit theft, contempt of court and misdemeanor failure to appear. She is set to appear in court on Wednesday, the Idaho Statesman reports.
The petit theft warrant stems from the investigation of an incident at a business on W. Fort Street in 2016, according to the Boise Police Department. Further details were not available.
Marie is well-known for her multiple attempts at challenging longtime politicians, repeatedly using as a platform an effort to protect children. In the 2018 Republican primary for governor, she received 3,397 votes, or about 1.7 percent of the total.
In the 2016 Republican primary, Marie unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, earning 17,442 votes (27 percent). In the 2014 Republican primary, she unsuccessfully ran against then-U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, earning 5,164 votes (7.2 percent).
TWIN FALLS — Sheriff’s deputies are looking to the public for help identifying a man who may be burglarizing homes in Twin Falls County.
A woman who heard noises in her home encountered the man, who took off running. The woman took a picture of the man as he ran and of a car that picked him up. The man was wearing a black jacket with a hood.
Police say there have been multiple home burglaries in the county in the past month, with most happening during the day when no one is home. The burglars are targeting guns and jewelry.
Police ask anyone with information to call SIRCOMM at 208-735-1911 or Crime Stoppers at 208-343-COPS.
FAIRFIELD, CA — A former Idaho psychologist has been convicted of sexually assaulting patients in California after pretending the sex acts were a mental health treatment.
Idaho’s psychologist licensing board permanently revoked Heath Sommer’s license on Nov. 4. But it wasn’t the first time Sommer was sanctioned — or the first time he was accused of misdeeds.
Idaho authorities had accused him of ethical breaches between 2010 and 2013. One case ended in 2015 in Sommer’s favor, with fraud allegations against his agency dismissed. The other case resulted in a 2016 order for Sommer to get more ethics training. While both cases were playing out in Idaho, Sommer was practicing as a psychologist at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, and sexually assaulting his patients, according to public records and news reports.
Sommer was found guilty last year of sexually assaulting female patients between 2014 and 2016, under the guise of providing “exposure therapy” for prior sexual trauma, according to California news outlets. He was sentenced this year to 11 years in prison, The (San Jose) Mercury News reported, and is now incarcerated in the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, California
California prosecutors charged Sommer with rape, sexual battery and oral sex by fraud or “fraudulent representation” — meaning the victims were “unconscious of the nature of the act” due to Sommer’s claim that the acts served a “professional purpose” when they didn’t. They also charged him with multiple counts of sexual battery.
“Many of Sommer’s alleged victims suffered sexual trauma while deployed to the Middle East or Afghanistan,” said a 2018 story in the Vacaville Reporter. “He reportedly practiced a version of exposure therapy that encourages the sex assault victims to purge harmful emotions related to the crimes by having sex with him.”
Exposure therapy is an established form of psychological treatment for patients such as veterans and service members who have post-traumatic stress that uses exposure in safe settings to slowly lessen the negative reaction to a traumatic event.
Exposure therapy has been used to treat sexual assault victims, but it does not involve re-enacting the trauma.
“It involves having patients repeatedly tell their awful stories, and then visit safe places that remind them of the trauma, or take part in safe activities they’d avoided because of painful reminders,” according to a 2013 Associated Press story on the psychologists using exposure therapy with rape victims.
The Air Force base hospital hired Sommer through a contractor in 2014, and he treated more than 100 patients before he was suspended in 2016, the Vacaville Reporter said.
“I apologize … I never intended to be offensive to people,” Sommer told the judge at his sentencing in July, according to The Mercury News. He also told the judge he had “no intent to disparage any victims,” the newspaper reported.
ALLEGATIONS BEFORE THE SEXUAL ASSAULTS
Heath Sommer first became a licensed psychologist in Idaho in 2009, according to state licensing records.
Sommer and his mental health agency, Seasons of Hope, made headlines until 2015 over their battle with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in connection to allegations of fraudulent billing and other misdeeds.
Sommer owned Seasons of Hope between at least May 2010 and March 2013, according to public records.
The department in 2013 accused Seasons of Hope of fraudulent billing and effectively shut it down — taking away its ability to seek payments from Medicaid and ordering it to pay the state nearly $500,000. Seasons of Hope closed offices in southern and eastern Idaho, and the company filed for bankruptcy, according to various news reports.
Over the next two years, Seasons of Hope’s case went before officials and a judge. They ruled that Seasons of Hope did owe the state money but dismissed fraud allegations and penalties. The judge called the department’s sanctions against Season of Hope “arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion,” the Idaho State Journal reported in 2015.
A year after that ruling, Sommer once again came under scrutiny — this time, for crossing ethical boundaries.
The Idaho Board of Psychologist Examiners, which oversees licensing of Idaho psychologists, issued an order in 2016 that said Sommer had violated ethics rules.
The board said employees of Sommer’s mental health agency had “provided a significant amount of services to two of (Sommer’s) sons” between May 2010 and March 2013. “At the same time (his) sons were receiving services from (his) employees, (he) was also the registered supervisor for six of the providers, which created dual relationships.”
Sommer settled the board’s complaint, agreeing to pay about $2,746 for the board’s investigative costs and attorneys fees, and to complete at least six extra continuing education credits on the topic of “ethics and dual relationships.” He did not admit any guilt or wrongdoing.
There was no board action against his license after that.
JEROME — A Caldwell man has lost his driver’s license for life and will spend at least 15 years in prison for his role in the 2017 death of Cheryl Ann Miller of Dietrich.
Fifth District Judge Rosemary Emory sentenced Larry Ray Halbert on Monday to 15 years in prison for vehicular manslaughter — to be served after he completes a prison sentence from an earlier Canyon County case — plus a $5,000 fine, $400 in restitution and another $5,000 in civil penalties. In addition, Emory suspended Halbert’s driver’s license “for the rest of his natural life.”
In a separate felony charge of driving under the influence, Emory sentenced Halbert to a one-year fixed term — with 305 days credited for time served — and nine years indeterminate. Halbert could be eligible for parole in no less than 18 years.
This is his eighth DUI conviction.
“A lengthy prison sentence is appropriate,” Emory said after hearing numerous members of Miller’s family comment on how their lives had been impacted by Halbert’s decision to drink and drive that Dec. 13 evening.
“This continues to have a profound effect on me, an intense pain I fear will never heal,” Miller’s daughter Tabitha Miller told the court. “I live in fear others will find themselves in the same situation” if Halbert were to escape prison time.
“She didn’t deserve to be killed and we don’t deserve to live without her,” Tabitha Miller said, calling Halbert’s behavior “reckless.”
Emory and several dozen friends and members of the Miller family closely observed Halbert’s reactions to her words.
Sandra Scott, Jerome County deputy prosecuting attorney, said Halbert had been drinking at a bar in Shoshone before the crash, and that tests performed at the hospital afterward showed he had a blood alcohol content of .28. That’s more than three times the .08 legal limit to drive.
Halbert pleaded guilty to the two charges in September but told the judge he had “no recollection of that evening.”
Police say Halbert, 41, was southbound on U.S. Highway 93 in a half-ton Ford pickup about 8 miles south of Shoshone. Miller was driving north in a Nissan Maxima. Halbert crossed the centerline, colliding head-on with Cheryl Miller’s car.
Miller died at the scene and Halbert was taken to St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center in Twin Falls.
Parole officer Julie Taylor testified that she witnessed “an ungodly amount of alcohol” in Halbert’s residence when she inspected the house some time after the wreck.
Defense attorney Carlos Rodriguez told the court the alcohol was not Halbert’s but belonged to family members who were staying in the house while Halbert was in the hospital.
The Miller family has filed a civil suit against Halbert, BSR Ventures and Advanced Heating and Cooling of Boise. Halbert was driving — with a suspended driver’s license — a company pickup at the time of the fatal crash. The civil trial is set to begin in May.
BUHL — Police activity prompted a short lockout at Buhl schools on Tuesday.
The Buhl School District said all of its buildings were locked and students were kept inside while police investigated an incident that happened off school grounds.
“Students were not in imminent danger and instruction continued as regularly as possible,” the district said in a Facebook post. Administrators received a report that students heard something “like shots” in a nearby field, Buhl Superintendent Ron Anthony said.
The district proceeded to lock the doors to all of its buildings and keep people from entering or exiting while class continued inside. The police did a thorough inspection of the area and determined nothing was going on, and the lockout ended after about an hour, Anthony said.
The Buhl Police Department said the incident ended at about 1:30 p.m.
MURPHY — A 22-year-old woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison this week for her role in the murder of a teenage hitchhiker in 2017.
Montanna Reed, 22, of Twin Falls, will be eligible for parole after five years and will receive credit for the two years she has served, 3rd District Judge Susan Wiebe ruled. Reed had pleaded guilty to charges of criminal conspiracy and failure to notify authorities of a death, the Idaho Statesman reported.
Hunter Smith, 18, was hitchhiking and on his way to Nebraska in the summer of 2017 when he was befriended by a trio of people, including Reed, and invited to shoot guns. His body was found in the desert of eastern Owyhee County by hunters on Oct. 21, 2017.
Two men involved in the murder have already been sentenced in the case: Nicholas Vandenberg and Willie K. Rabey.
Vandenberg, 28, of Melba, fired the shots that killed Smith, and he was sentenced in August to 30 years to life in prison for first-degree murder. Rabey, 35, of Mountain Home, was sentenced to 26 years in prison after pleading guilty in February to accessory to first-degree murder, evidence destruction and failure to notify of a death.
RUPERT — Police said a man tried to rape a woman, punched her in the face twice and then hit her with his truck in a parking lot, causing her to fall to the ground and a have a seizure.
The woman was taken to Minidoka Memorial Hospital and transferred to Portneuf Medical Center, where she was treated and released, according to court records.
Joshua Alan Smith, 43, of Rupert is charged with felony aggravated battery with the use of a deadly weapon. He was arrested on Dec. 20.
The woman, who was staying at a local motel and had packed to leave by bus, said she and Smith had gone to dinner Dec. 19 and then to a Rupert bar, where Smith kept buying her alcohol. The bartender later confirmed to police that Smith was paying for the drinks, court documents say.
She said Smith drove her to her residence and inside the hallway, he grabbed her in a front bear hug. She told him to leave and he attempted to pull off her pants, the documents say. She told him she was not having sex with him and punched him in the nose, causing him to bleed profusely.
He then punched her in the face twice and left hurriedly and got in his truck. When the woman attempted to get her things out of his truck, he began to drive through the parking lot, documents say. She said he hit her with the truck, causing her to fall and she blacked out. She later went inside and found a phone to call 911.
After she was released from the hospital, police questioned the woman, whom they said was “walking gingerly,” appeared to be in pain and had cuts and bruises.
Smith, who is on parole with the Idaho Department of Corrections for a 2006 rape conviction in Minidoka County, told officers he received the large cut on the side of his nose by being hit with a shovel.
Smith initially denied knowing how the woman was injured, going to dinner or the bar afterward with her and said she called him to get a ride home from the bar. He later admitted the series of events to police, court documents say.
The woman told police Smith contacted her by social media, but as part of his parole, he is not allowed to have a smartphone or use social media, according to court records.
Police did not find his phone, but he had phone charging cables at his home.
A preliminary hearing in the case is set at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 2.
BURLEY — A judge sent a Paul woman to jail after she pleaded guilty to felony manslaughter for a crash where one of two unrestrained children in her car died.
Carolina Rodriguez, 26, was given a suspended 10-year prison sentence, but will be banned from driving for life and will spend 30 days in county jail, the judge said.
Rodriguez was immediately taken to jail after the hearing, according to court records.
She was also charged with felony injury to a child after the Sept. 22, 2018, crash on Idaho Highway 27 north of Burley. That charge was dismissed through a plea agreement.
Minidoka County District Judge Jonathan Brody noted in the sentence that if Rodriguez drives a car in her lifetime, she will serve a fixed 10 years in prison.
Rodriguez was driving south on the highway when she hit the back of a truck, Idaho State Police said. Her car rolled and landed on its roof, throwing one of the two children out of the car. Neither child was restrained in a child safety seat.
One of the children was taken to a Pocatello hospital, and then transferred to Salt Lake City, where the child died. The other child was taken to a local hospital.
Rodriuez was also taken to the Pocatello hospital after the crash.
BURLEY — An employee at a meat packaging company is charged with felony aggravated assault after police said he threatened a coworker with a large pipe wrench.
Zachary Lee Ford, 35, is also charged with misdemeanor battery for punching the coworker in the face, according to court records.
Ford, whose hometown is unknown, is being held without bond.
According to court records, Ford was arrested after an incident on Dec. 20 when a coworker at the company said he got into an argument with Ford while on shift.
Ford said nasty things about the man’s cousin and tried to provoke a fight with him, the man said. Ford grabbed the wrench and, while standing a few feet from where the man was sitting, held the wrench over the man’s head like he was going to hit him with it.
The man tried to move away and Ford stepped forward, still holding the wrench. Another co-worker intervened and broke up the fight.
Ford stepped outside the building and then came back in holding a knife, the man said. Ford yelled at the man and tried again to provoke a fight.
Ford rushed him and punched him in the face, the man said. The other coworker again stepped in to break up the fight and the injured man left the workplace for the day.
Ford was arraigned Monday; a preliminary hearing date is not entered in court records.
HEYBURN — A local man is charged with five felony counts of possession of child sexually exploitative material after police found files on his phone of children, some as young as ages 4 to 6.
Kristopher Richard Charlton, 24, was arrested on Dec. 26, according to court records, after another person reported to police that she found child pornographic images on his phone.
The woman, who had access to Charlton’s phone using a fingerprint, said she found a video player on his phone and videos with “weird numbers,” court documents say. She said she could see videos describing boys and girls, using sexual words, which had their ages 6-11.
When police initially examined the phone, they did not find any files, but the phone was taken to the Rupert Police Department for further examination.
Police recovered several sexually explicit videos of prepubescent children and of a man sexually assaulting a female child that was age 4-6, the documents say.
A preliminary hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 8 in Minidoka County Magistrate Court.
BURLEY — A 21-year-old Nampa man pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child under a plea agreement after police said he had sex with a 14-year-old Minidoka County girl many times over an eight-month period.
A sentence hearing for Zakry L. Howell is set at 1 p.m. Jan. 7 in Minidoka County District Court, according to court records.
Howell was originally charged with felony rape. The maximum sentence in Idaho for injury to a child is 10 years in prison. There is no agreement for a sentence recommendation, court documents show.
The girl’s father lured Howell to Rupert by saying he could see the girl for one last time before he joined the Idaho Army National Guard in February, police said.
Rupert police officers met Howell with handcuffs at the Ridley Grocery Store parking lot when he arrived.
According to police, Howell admitted he’d had sex with the girl multiple times between April and November 2018.