Crime

Intercepted letters lead to criminal solicitation charges for Canyon kidnap/assault suspect

Alleged efforts to get out from under kidnap and assault charges led to a fresh array of felonies for a Nampa man after he reportedly sent mail from jail asking his sister and girlfriend to convince the victim to drop her allegations.

The letters were intercepted by jail staff, and Arturo H. Mendoza, 34, is now charged with 3 counts of criminal solicitation to commit a crime.

He's been in the Canyon County jail on $5 million bond since February on seven felony charges, accused of kidnapping and repeatedly beating an ex-girlfriend who had taken his cell phone. The 26-year-old Caldwell woman required surgery for a fractured thigh and knee, and had "multiple injuries all over her body," according to court documents. She told investigators Mendoza assaulted her with numerous items including a baseball bat, a wrench, a rake and a lit cigarette.

He is scheduled to stand trial for that attack on July 28, and letters he wrote in jail reportedly aimed to avoid that trial by getting his sister and others to approach the victim.

The letters, detailed in a probable cause affidavit for the new charges, repeatedly refer to approaching "that person," "her" or "this person" rather than using the individual's name. When a Canyon County Sheriff's deputy interviewed Mendoza about the letters, he admitted writing them but denied any intent to threaten or contact the alleged victim.

Mendoza was arraigned this week on the new felony charges, one for each of three letters he attempted to mail from jail in May.

In a letter to his sister, Mendoza asks her to find "that person," apologize and promise money, a car or other offering if she will help, according to the probable cause affidavit. He also wrote his girlfriend, asking her to tell his sister to use her power of persuasion to get the woman to drop her allegations, the affidavit states.

In another letter quoted in the affidavit, he said the woman should call the prosecutor and say "she no longer wants to proceed with my case whatsoever, that she made a mistake because she was under the influence of drugs."

"My charges will get dropped for lack of evidence and no proof," the letter continued.

Mendoza also advocated getting several people to write notarized letters that support his contention that "I was never were (sic) that (expletive) says I was at."

His preliminary hearing on the criminal conspiracy charges is set for June 18 to determine whether the case will advance to 3rd District Court. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of attempted violation of a no-contact order.

His next court appearance in the assault and kidnapping case is a status conference June 30. Mendoza is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with intent to kill, plus charges of aggravated battery, first and second-degree kidnapping, malicious injury to property and use of a deadly weapon in commission of a crime.

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