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North Platte man sentenced to pen for strangulationTell North Platte what you think
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Ricardo A. Diaz

Ricardo Adam Diaz, 34, of North Platte will serve 14-36 months in the Nebraska penitentiary for driving under the influence of alcohol, strangulation and tampering with a witness.

Diaz pled guilty Monday to the charges in Lincoln County District Court.

District Judge Richard Birch sentenced him to 90 days in county jail and his driver's license was revoked for six months for the DUI. The prison time was handed down for strangulation and tampering.

Diaz’ defense attorney Russ Jones told the court that Diaz had successfully completed treatment at Valley Hope in Lincoln and also served a total of 275 days in jail.

Jones asked for those times to be credited against his sentence.

Lincoln County District Judge Richard Birch granted credit for the jail time, but not for the time at rehab. He also refused to give him 90-days credit for the DUI. Birch told County Attorney Rebecca Harling that it looked like Diaz had 204 days coming to him as credit, and if anything else needed to be accounted for, she should inform the court of the figure.

Before the sentence, Jones called the victim of the strangulation, Beth Reichenberg, to the stand.

Before Reichenberg testified, Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling warned her that anything she might say could lead to charges against her of false reporting, if her original report did not match what she would say in court.

Harling advised Reichenberg that it may be wise to stay quiet and Birch advised her of her Fifth Amendment rights not to testify against herself. Reichenberg waived those rights and said “it happened just as I’m saying it did. I don’t want him to get any more jail time.”

She said they both had been drinking, but Diaz had only had a couple of beers. She said she had forgotten to get his medications for him that afternoon and he blew his stack.

When Harling asked if he hit her, she first said it was a long time ago. But Harling reminded her that police said she had a swollen cheek and redness on her neck when they arrived, and she said well, he must have done it.

Reichenberg said she’d never seen him violent that way, even though they’d been through tough times in their relationship.

Under questioning, Reichenberg said her seven-year-old daughter tried to help her when she was assaulted and she grabbed the child and left the house. She said Diaz did not assault the child.

The tampering charge against Diaz came from phone calls he made to Reichenberg, trying to convince her to change her story and not talk to the attorneys.

Jones asked for probation. He said Diaz needed a chance to get his life in shape with counseling and treatment instead of jail.

Harling asked for penitentiary time, citing Diaz’ record of alcohol-related charges.

Before sentencing, Birch noted that the presentence investigation did not recommend probation.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 9/24/2012
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