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Ripley man accepts plea deal in kidnapping case

Isiah T. Fuentes

A Ripley man who had been set to stand trial on kidnapping and assault charges will avoid a lengthy prison sentence had he been convicted after accepting a plea deal.

An offer from the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office to Isiah T. Fuentes was made Friday, just after a jury was selected and days before the trial was to begin in county court.

The 22-year-old, jailed on $2.5 million bail for more than a year, pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree attempted assault. He also pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal contempt stemming from charges filed later on.

Fuentes had been indicted on two counts of first-degree kidnapping, attempted assault, second-degree assault and second-degree strangulation.

The charges were the result of an investigation that began as a well-being check in July 2020. A victim, reported to be injured, was located inside a Ripley home along with Fuentes. As the investigation into the incident continued, it was learned that the Ripley man had allegedly entered the victim’s home unlawfully and held them against their will for several days.

“This was not a case I wanted to plead out,” Jason Schmidt, county district attorney, told The Post-Journal. “My No. 1 goal as DA is to hold people accountable and serve the ends of justice.

Here we achieved that given certain changed circumstances beyond our control. The defendant has pled to two felonies and will be sentenced to state prison time and a period of parole supervision after his release. Credit goes to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office for their tireless efforts. We now move on to the next one.”

The trial was set to begin with opening statements Tuesday of this week.

As part of the plea deal, in which all the remaining charges were dismissed, Fuentes will serve one to three years in state prison on each count to be served consecutively. Kidnapping, the most serious charge he was facing, carries a sentence up to 25 years upon conviction.

Sentencing will take place in March. Fuentes was represented by the county Public Defender’s Office.

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