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December 3, 2013
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Carbondale man pleads guilty to spitting on a cop

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A little over two weeks before he was due to go on trial, a Carbondale man pleaded guilty to one charge of assaulting a police officer in jail, while in custody after being arrested on charges of assaulting the same officer during an encounter on 12th Street in Carbondale, and to resisting arrest.

Julio Hernandez-Mendoza, 26, was arrested on Sept. 22 after a run-in with three Carbondale police officers.

According to an affidavit filed by Carbondale Police Department Officer Fred Williams, he and Officer Mike Zimmerman were patrolling around the area of North 12th Street at about 9:30 p.m. after receiving a report of a “loud noise” in the area.

According to Williams’ report, the two officers saw Hernandez-Mendoza running away from another policeman, CPD Officer Rob Lawson. Lawson later informed Williams that he had confronted Hernandez-Mendoza about a shouting match the suspect was having with a woman, which prompted Hernandez-Mendoza to run,

The three officers split up and chased Hernandez-Mendoza, whom Williams quickly found “hiding behind a child’s playhouse” behind a block of apartments, according to the affidavit.

According to Williams, as he approached Hernandez-Mendoza with his gun drawn, the suspect “bull rushed” Williams and grappled him to the ground before Zimmerman came up and Hernandez-Mendoza was subdued and placed in handcuffs.

Later, as he was being booked into the Garfield County Jail on charges of assaulting an officer, a class four felony, and resisting arrest, a class 2 misdemeanor, Hernandez-Mendoza allegedly spit on Williams, bringing an additional charge of assault in the “heat of passion,” this one a class six felony.

A three-day trial on the charges was due to begin on Dec. 9, but on Nov. 20 Hernandez-Mendoza agreed to a plea bargain with the district attorney’s office on the third charge, and the trail was vacated.

According to Colorado’s sentencing guidelines, Hernandez-Mendoza is facing a presumptive sentence of up to a year and a half in prison, although if she finds there were aggravating circumstances District Judge Denise Lynch could increase the sentence to as much as three years.

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The Post Independent Updated Dec 4, 2013 11:30AM Published Dec 3, 2013 08:44PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.