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Plea deal reached just before rape trial begins

 

Alex Esquivel, right, was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday as part of a plea agreement. The deal was made just prior to a rape trial involving a 2009 incident in Red Bay. | Nathan Strickland/FCT

 

A Red Bay man initially accused of raping his former girlfriend agreed to serve five years in prison in exchange for a lesser charge against him.

A Franklin County 12-member jury never made it to their seats on Tuesday as a settlement was taken by the defense prior to trial.

Alex Esquivel, 33, 502 Fourth St., Red Bay, who was initially charged with first-degree rape and third-degree domestic violence took a plea agreement which served an amended charge of second-degree assault, which is a Class C felony, giving him five years behind bars.

The alleged incident reportedly occurred on July 22 at the 30-year-old woman’s residence in Red Bay’s Hardin Trailer Park, according to Red Bay Police.

At the time of the arrest, investigators said Esquivel forced the woman to have sex with him even though she continued telling him no and tried to get him off of her.

Authorities said Esquivel also was initially accused of hitting and biting the woman during the incident.

Prior to the trial, the Franklin County District Attorney’s office spoke with the victim and officers related to the case and both parties agreed to a settlement.

Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said the settlement agreed upon granted probation to Esquivel.

Rushing said the victim agreed to a settlement after Esquivel accepted specific requirements of his probation to have no contact with her.

“She was very emotional about having to testify in open court and we thought the plea agreement was a solid deal,” Rushing said. “We were satisfied with the outcome because the victim did not have to testify and everyone agreed to the terms drafted in the settlement.”

Esquivel’s attorney, Rebecca Thomason, said the outcome was a victory for her client.

“The prosecution only had one blurry photo of the victim’s injuries that we believed to be a hickey and not a bite mark,” she said. “We believe the settlement is a victory because you never know how a jury is going to vote in this type of trial. I believe we got a good deal.”

Esquivel has been in the Franklin County jail since the incident and that time served will knock off one year of his five- year sentence.

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