A Waseca County District Court judge has denied a motion to dismiss charges against a Waseca man accused of breaking into a woman’s home in September and raping her.
Armando DeLaCruz, Jr., 33, was charged with 29 felonies and one misdemeanor for burglary, kidnapping, rape, false imprisonment and making terroristic threats against the woman and her two children.
DeLaCruz was reportedly discovered by the victim in her home the late evening/early morning of Sept. 13-14. The defendant then allegedly overpowered the victim, threatened to harm her two children if she didn’t comply, and then repeatedly sexually assaulted her over the next few hours, said a criminal complaint filed in district court.
The assistant county attorney’s office consented in November to drop two of the three burglary charges against DeLaCruz, agreeing that a single count of first-degree burglary covered all occupants of the dwelling.
Originally, the defendant had been charged with one count for each of the three people in the home during the time of the alleged crime.
Prosecutors also charged DeLaCruz based on each alleged sexual encounter with the victim — nine counts total.
DeLaCruz’s attorney, Dawn Johnson, requested that 12 of the 29 charges against her client be dismissed on grounds that they constitute a “single behavioral incident.”
“It would unfairly prejudice the defendant in the eyes of the jury to be faced with so many charges for one behavioral incident,” Johnson wrote in her Dec. 3 motion.
Waseca County Assistant District Attorney Brenda Miller argued that Johnson misconstrued a state Supreme Court ruling in her filing. In that case, the court’s finding “only prohibits entry of conviction and multiple sentences for more than one act of criminal sexual conduct which occurred during this one … incident.”
Johnson’s motion was ultimately denied by Waseca County District Court Judge Larry Collins Jan. 2 on grounds that the court was unable to find reasonable evidence as to why the state is unable to charge the defendant with multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Johnson’s motion to dismiss the kidnapping charge due to lack of probable cause was also denied.
Miller declined to comment and Johnson could not be reached.
Reach reporter Christen Furlong at 507-857-5451. Follow her on Twitter @WCNchristen.