Man earns prison for beating pregnant girlfriend, two others

Oct 10 2011 - 11:41pm

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Frank Zavala
Frank Zavala

OGDEN -- Despite several distractions, an Ogden man has been sent to prison for beating and holding captive his pregnant girlfriend and two other people he thought stole his drugs.

Frank Zavala, 35, was charged with aggravated kidnapping and assault for the Jan. 13 attacks.

The girlfriend has had a protective order in place against Zavala ever since, after police said he knocked her to the ground and repeatedly kicked her in the back, legs and stomach. The 19-year-old was seven months pregnant at the time and sharing the apartment with Zavala.

He also threatened to abort the child during the four-hour ordeal, in which the victims said they were assaulted, hit with a Taser and threatened with a knife.

Since pleading guilty May 12 to charges reduced in a plea bargain, Zavala has filed mostly handwritten motions seeking to withdraw his guilty pleas, accusing his public defender and judge of pressuring him into pleading guilty.

Zavala's June sentencing was postponed by Judge Michael Lyon to hear arguments in August on Zavala's claims.

He eventually ruled the claims unfounded and last week sentenced Zavala to a one-to-15-year prison term on the charges.

They included charges of witness tampering and violation of a protective order filed against Zavala in March for sending letters to the estranged girlfriend asking her not to show up for the court hearings against him.

Zavala had accused public defender Michael Bouwhuis of frightening him into pleading guilty rather than face an all-white jury. He also claimed Lyon at an April 30 hearing told him in open court, "the next word I want to hear out of your mouth is guilty."

In his written ruling, Lyon said the claim prompted him to review the audio tapes of the hearing, which he found took place April 14, not April 30. The tape, the judge wrote, showed Zavala misconstrued his remarks.

Lyon said the tape indicates he advised Zavala if the case goes to trial and a jury is called, his only possible plea would be a guilty plea at that late date.

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