Thursday, July 9, 2009

Christopher Phillips Sentenced to 6 years for Attempted Sexual Assault

A Cañon City man was sentenced to six years in the Department of Corrections on Wednesday after pleading guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child.

Christopher Phillips originally was charged with sexual assault on a child. He was accused of assaulting an 8-year-old girl inside a Main Street business. He has a prior conviction for a sexual offense.

District Judge David Thorson also classified Phillips as a sexually violent predator, despite public defender Daniel Zettler’s request for a second psychosexual evaluation.

Phillips did not participate in the pre-sentence investigation with the probation department or the psychosexual evaluation ordered by the court.

Zettler argued his client misunderstood the purpose of his interview with probation officer Susie Vale. He said Phillips believed he already had stipulated to a DOC sentence.

Vale testified that when she went to conduct the interview she was unable to even get Phillips to sign the release allowing the psychosexual evaluators to come evaluate him.

“All I was able to go off of was the police report, because I was unable to get any information from Mr. Phillips,” she said. “He just walked away from me.”

Phillips also took the stand to explain his actions. He said he did not understand that he was refusing the evaluation.

“As far as I understood when she left, the people for the psychosexual were still coming,” he said. “I would definitely have completed the evaluation. I don’t see the point in being classified a sexually violent predator, I don’t believe I am one.”

Thorson did not accept the defense argument.

“I considered rejecting the plea agreement… because you refused to participate,” Thorson told Phillips. “I don’t understand what you thought you had to gain.”

Earlier in the day, Thorson dismissed one count of Internet sexual exploitation of a child in the case of James Ciric.

Ciric, 23, is charged in connection with an Internet Crimes Against Children investigation. He was arrested in January in Cañon City after a lengthy communication with an undercover police officer.

Thorson said the communications were enticing or inviting the fictional child to commit sexual acts at a later date, not during the communication as stated in the statute.

Ciric, of Houston, still faces four other charges — attempted sexual assault on a child, enticement of a child, Internet luring of a child, solicitation to commit sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and conspiracy to commit sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. He is set for a motions hearing in September.

Finally, charges were filed against the man connected with the death of Dalina Denell Turman.

Christopher Adonis Archuleta, 41, was charged with distribution of a schedule I controlled substance — heroin, tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse. Deputy District Attorney Chip Cutler also included six counts of habitual criminal as a sentence enhancer.

Archuleta, of Cañon City, has a string of burglary convictions going back to 1987. He also had a 1994 conviction of possession of contraband.

Turman’s severely decomposed remains were discovered in the Chandler area on June 16. Archuleta told investigators that she had died of an overdose of heroin in his home on April 16 and that he had dumped her body because he did not want to go back to prison.

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