A Turlock man on Wednesday agreed to a plea deal that will send him to prison for battering his girlfriend and caging the young woman in a large dog crate for hours on end.
Frank Deodulo Guerra, 22, pleaded no contest to kidnapping, battery with serious injury and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 24.
Deputy District Attorney Beth O’Hara DeJong said in court Wednesday afternoon that Guerra admitted to Turlock police that he had held his girlfriend captive in the dog crate. He told police, “I didn’t put her in there a lot,” according to the prosecutor.
DeJong told the judge the defendant left his then-girlfriend inside the crate three to five times a week, four to five hours a day while he went to work. She said in court that the victim was forced to urinate into a dog bowl, and that Guerra smeared dog feces on her.
It will be up to Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Scott Steffen to decide how much time Guerra will spend in prison. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, based on the charges. Guerra will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he could become eligible for parole.
Before Guerra is sentenced, the victim and her family will have an opportunity at the May 24 hearing to speak in court about the impact of the defendant’s crimes.
John Goold, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, said the victim was aware of the resolution in the case. He said the outcome produces prison time for Guerra, and it doesn’t force the victim to describe her ordeal in open court.
As part of the plea deal, DeJong told the judge that the prosecution will not file new charges based on jail calls the defendant has made, allegedly for intimidating the victim, since his arrest. But the agreement doesn’t prevent prosecutors from filing charges based on any future threats.
At a March 8 court hearing, the prosecutor said the defendant, while in custody, had gotten someone else to contact the victim on Facebook. DeJong told the judge that the communication involved “intimidating” Facebook posts.
Guerra has been held at the county jail since Feb. 25. He was arrested after his former girlfriend went to the Turlock Police Department to report the crimes.
The abuse began in August. The woman reportedly escaped Jan. 4 but didn’t report the crimes until late February because the defendant asserted power and control over her, DeJong has said.
Guerra forced the woman into a dog crate that measured 30 by 48 inches, with an inside height of 32 inches, according to the prosecutor.
“He stated he did not trust the victim while he was at work,” DeJong said.
Guerra reportedly sent the victim photos of him holding a gun, claimed that he would post nude photos of her on social media and left a profanity-laced recorded message that gave her the evidence she needed to go to police.
Judge Steffen on Wednesday ordered Guerra’s seized cellphone to be destroyed by Turlock police as part of the plea agreement, because DeJong said the phone contained explicit images of the victim.
The judge told the defendant that two of his charges are considered strikes under the state’s “three strikes” law. If Guerra is convicted of another felony, he could be eligible for a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Upon Guerra’s release from prison, he will have to serve three years on parole.