Albert Lea man pleads guilty to assault

Published 11:06 am Saturday, May 1, 2010

An Albert Lea man accused of trying to break into an Austin home last month pleaded guilty in a separate domestic assault case Thursday.

Jonathan William Talamantes, 23, awaits sentencing on one count of felony assault by strangulation that stems from an incident on April 15. As part of his plea, all charges in the burglary case were dismissed.

Also charged in that case were Hilary Jayne Flores, 24, of Albert Lea, and Omar Daniello Rangel, 26, of Austin. They each entered provisional not guilty pleas earlier this month.

The incident in question reportedly occurred on March 22. According to a police report, an officer on routine patrol at around 10:40 p.m. in the 700 block of 10th Avenue Southwest was notified by a resident that he had heard a loud crash and then a car speed off down an alley. The man said the commotion had come from across the street at a neighbor’s house.

Police were able to track down the car and arrest the three suspects. Inside the vehicle, they found a baseball bat and a BB gun concealed in food wrappers, the report states.

Officers also spoke with the resident of the home where the attempted break-in allegedly occurred. The 18-year-old male renter said he heard the crash at the back door, and he went to investigate. He then saw two males at the back door, one of whom was carrying the bat. Both men fled into a car in the alley and sped off, the report states.

The renter was later able to identify the man with the bat at Talamantes and the man with him as Rangel.

Initially, both Flores and Talamantes denied any involvement in the incident. The two said they had been at an area barbecue that night and were pulled over after they left, according to a criminal complaint.

However, Rangel told authorities that he and the other two had stopped at the 18-year-old’s house, and that Talamantes had used the bat to smash in the back door. Rangel said he was scared to provide this information in front of Talamantes during their arrests, the complaint states.

Authorities then interviewed Flores again. She changed her story somewhat, saying that she took the car to the house because Talamantes and Rangel were visiting a “friend.” She said she waited in the car with music on and didn’t hear a window smash, the complaint states. Flores said she then drove the two away before being pulled over.

Flores also said the gun was purchased by her and Talamantes, who was identified as her boyfriend. She said it was for her son to “shoot cans” and was not meant to be used in a threatening way. The gun’s loader was found on Talamantes during his arrest, the complaint states.

Records indicate that Talamantes has been convicted of felonies three times before — once in 2004 for aggravated robbery, once in 2006 for fleeing an officer in a vehicle, and once again in 2006 for assault. After denying involvement in the incident during his first interview with police, Talamantes declined a second interview following Rangel’s admission.

Talamantes faces up to three years in prison for the domestic assault.