Fifth District Judge Randy Stoker said Tuesday that he would have shot a Burley man accused in a baseball bat beating had the man broken into the judge’s home instead of the victim’s.
Stoker handed down the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for Logan John Urrizaga, 23, but suspended that sentence and placed Urizzaga in the state’s retained jurisdiction program aimed at rehabilitating offenders.
Urrizaga was charged in September after he beat the victim with the bat in the forehead and legs.
In the middle of handing down the sentence, Stoker told Urrizaga, who was talking to his public defender, Tim Schneider, to pay attention to what he was saying.
“I’ll say this as a judge,” Stoker said about Urrizaga’s burglary charge. “If you would have broken into my home in the middle of the night, you’d be dead. I would have shot you.”
Urrizaga, who periodically dabbed his eyes with a white tissue, called witnesses prior to sentencing to talk about his good character and what a good father he is to his 5-year-old daughter. After he was sentenced, Urrizaga asked the judge if he could wait until Monday to turn himself in and if he could give his fiancee and daughter a hug and kiss goodbye before he was placed in custody.
The judge denied both requests.
Stoker said Urrizaga’s criminal behavior crossed the line and affected people’s lives.
“I understand that you have some stability in the community, but I’m taking you out of the community. You are going into the rider program because you need to understand the inner workings of the Idaho State Penitentiary,” Stoker said.
The sentence will run concurrent to a November burglary charge. A third charge of aggravated battery, stemming from an incident that occurred days after Urrizaga was released from jail in which he pulled out another baseball bat to use as a weapon, was dismissed in a plea agreement.
Urrizaga entered an Alford guilty plea to the charges, meaning he maintained his innocence but admitted prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.
McCord Larsen, Cassia County chief deputy prosecutor, said that although Urrizaga had people testify on his behalf and submitted a “wonderful” apology letter, he posted to Facebook just days ago a threat toward the beating victim. The post, according to the prosecutor, said the man was a snitch and that when it over Urrizaga would deal with him.
Larsen said Urrizaga is not taking responsibility for his actions, and his posts on social media indicate that he is not sorry.
“I think his real opinion is what he shares with his friends,” Larsen said.
Stoker did not allow the beaten man’s mother to speak during the hearing.
Larsen said the effect on the beaten man’s family “is huge.”
For his part, Urrizaga’s lawyer said he had an “animated” discussion with Urrizaga about the things that he’s done.
“I don’t know if he listened to me,” Schneider said.
The defense lawyer said Urrizaga was “jumped” while he was in custody and he’s “rightfully” concerned about being incarcerated. He asked Stoker to allow Urrizaga to remain in the community to provide for his family.
“I am not a bad person,” Urrizaga said. He told the judge he wants to be the best dad he can be and that he is a hard worker.
Stoker threatened that if Urrizaga continues with the confrontational behavior during the retained jurisdiction program, he will be sent back and will serve his full sentence. The judge said he could tell by the look on Urrizaga’s face during sentencing that he was not happy about the case’s outcome. He counseled him to use the time to change the way he thinks.
“You have 15 years hanging over your head,” Stoker said. “That’s your choice.”