TWIN FALLS — A 19-year-old Twin Falls man was set to be sentenced Monday for raping a 14-year-old girl, but instead prosecutors requested a delay, revealing the teen could face new charges after a presentence investigation turned up evidence of another possible sex crime.
Cody Duane Scott Herrera pleaded guilty in March to raping a 14-year-old girl when he was 18. He was originally charged with felony lewd conduct with a minor, but as part of a plea agreement, prosecutors amended the charge to rape and agreed Herrera would not have to register as a sex offender.
The plea deal also stipulated Herrera’s sentence would rest largely on the findings of a psychosexual evaluation, with prosecutors retaining the right to argue for probation, a retained jurisdiction program or up to eight years in prison.
Presentence investigations and psychosexual evaluations are always sealed, so the results of Herrera’s post-plea interviews are not public. But Deputy Prosecutor Julie Sturgill revealed Monday that Buhl Police have requested new charges against Herrera stemming from evidence uncovered during the presentence investigation involving a different girl.
“In being interviewed, he did admit that he did take pictures and video of an underage girl and had those on his phone,” Sturgill told District Judge Randy Stoker. “That could be one of two charges — possession of sexually exploitative material or production (of sexually exploitative material).”
Herrera’s attorney, Daniel Brown, downplayed the new evidence.
“He was in a relationship with a 17-year-old girl, which is legal in the state of Idaho,” Brown told the judge. “However there’s an issue concerning apparently either recordings or photographs of that encounter.”
Sturgill requested the delay in sentencing so she could analyze the new evidence and determine what to do, including whether to bring new charges against Herrera or somehow add new charges into the current plea deal.
Stoker cited two reasons for granting the delay, saying it would be difficult to sentence Herrera with potential charges hanging over the case and noting he needed more time to review the psychosexual evaluation.
Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs on Wednesday declined to comment whether his office would charge Herrera with a new crime, saying Sturgill was still evaluating the evidence.
He also explained that evidence uncovered in presentence investigations is fair game for prosecutors.
“The rule is, they’re not compelled to speak, they are not required to participate in presentence interviews, but if they do, they don’t get immunity,” Loebs said.
Herrera is out of custody after posting $5,000 bond shortly after his arrest last October.
A new sentencing hearing has not been set.