|1/21/2019 8:19:00 AM|
From second to first degree in Ridgeway death
|An amended charge is now on file for Austin D. Valdez for his direct involvement in the death of his stepfather Robin Reeson this past March.|
Valdez is now charged with first degree reckless homicide, instead of the original charge of second degree reckless homicide. He will answer to this charge in an arraignment scheduled for this Friday 10 a.m. at the Iowa County Courthouse.
This charge update was filed in December by Iowa County District Attorney Larry Nelson. This is based on Nelson's argument that Valdez recklessly caused the death of Reeson "under circumstances which show utter disregard for human life."
If convicted of the amended charge, Valdez could face up to 60 years of imprisonment.
The trial dates are set for February 4-February 8 at 9 a.m., along with a pretrial date set for Friday February 1st at 9:30 a.m. Valdez will be represented by Defense Attorneys Jeremiah Wolfgang Meyer O'Day and Taylor M. Hart. The presiding judge will be the honorable William Andrew Sharp.
According to court documents, self-defense has been a major argument in the defendant's testimony, and whether or not it will be admissable during the trial. Valdez shot Reeson, after an alleged altercation between Melanie Reeson, Valdez's mother, and Reeson. In Valdez's line of defense, it is claimed the incident in March is one of other incidents dating from 2016, including an incident that allegedly occurred hours before the shooting.
Nelson argues, when the defendant was questioned after the incident, that the defendant said that he has never seen Reeson grab anyone or get in a fight.
Nelson has also argued as to what is considered self defense, along with regard for human life.
It has been said that Reeson didn't see that Valdez had a rifle the night of the shooting.
It is yet to be determined what will occur at the jury trial set for February. Witnesses have been called for both plaintiff and defendant, as well as those who represent the county on jury duty.
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