Austin man avoids jail time for attack

Published 2:28 pm Saturday, September 14, 2013

An Austin man was sentenced to three years of probation Thursday in Freeborn County District Court for attempting to strangle his ex-girlfriend last year in Albert Lea.

Andres Barrera Jr.

Andres Barrera Jr.

If Andres Barrera Jr., 38, violates his probation he faces a potential 18-month prison sentence.

Barrera in June pleaded guilty to a charge of domestic assault by strangulation, a felony, as part of a plea agreement with his lawyer and the Freeborn County Attorney’s Office.

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It was classified as an Alford plea, in which a defendant maintains his innocence but recognizes there is sufficient evidence to convict, usually with stiffer penalties.

Barrera initially was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree burglary and domestic assault, but the Freeborn County Attorney’s Office in April amended the charges to one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and the strangulation charge.

Freeborn County District Court Judge Ross Leuning dismissed the remaining charges Thursday.

Court documents state Barrera showed up unwanted outside the ex-girlfriend’s house on Jan. 3, 2012, forced his way inside, where he forced the woman into a bedroom, sexually assaulted her and attempted to strangle her.

In addition to the probation, Leuning ordered Barrera complete a psychosexual evaluation, register as a predatory offender and complete 80 hours of Sentence to Service. He must pay a $500 fine.