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Wed, June 19

Man takes plea in kidnapping, sexual assault case

PRESCOTT - After months of rejecting plea agreements in his kidnapping case, Eduardo Arteaga Vera accepted one on April 19 and could be sentenced to up to 17 years in prison.

Arteaga Vera, 54, was indicted on charges of kidnapping, attempted sexual assault, luring a minor for sexual exploitation, stalking and aggravated assault.

He offered a ride to a 17-year-old girl as she was walking to work in Prescott Valley in July 2011, said Dwight D'Evelyn, spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.

D'Evelyn said that Arteaga Vera instead drove her to the Drake Road area off Highway 89 along Forest Road 680, and then attempted to sexually assault her.

The victim was able to escape and hid from him.

Plea negotiations had been going on for months, with Arteaga Vera at one point saying, "I want to go to trial... I would like to get out of this problem. But I can't plead guilty to something I didn't do."

With his trial just a week away, however, he did accept the prosecution's offer to plead guilty to kidnapping with sexual motivation, stalking, and aggravated assault.

If Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley finds that he should go to prison, he could potentially be sentenced to 17 years. He could also receive prison time followed by sex-offender probation.

Ainley will sentence him in May.

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