A La Plata County man pleaded guilty Friday to multiple felonies, including burglary, menacing and attempted sexual assault.
Wayne Baty, 28, broke into his next-door neighbor’s house, attempted to sexually assault her at knifepoint and then attempted to coerce her into stabbing her boyfriend, according to court records.
The incident occurred July 18, 2015, southeast of Elmore’s Corner.
Baty faces 10 to 12 years in prison and 10 years on probation after signing a plea agreement with the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. If Baty violates his probation after his release, he faces up to 12 additional years in prison.
“We feel like Mr. Baty is a very dangerous individual and that we did justice by ensuring that he’s going to be off the streets for an extended time period, and that was valuable to us and valuable to the community,” said Assistant District Attorney Christian Champagne.
Baty entered an “Alford plea,” which is treated the same as pleading guilty for a crime without outright admitting guilt.
“I’m not entering this because I’m guilty,” Baty said.
He said he accepted the plea agreement to protect a friend from being dragged into the court process.
“Mr. Baty’s motivation seems to have been his focus on one of the other witnesses in the trial not having to testify, and that’s a challenge because we like to have people admit their guilt,” Champagne said.
During the preceding, a recorded conversation between the defendant and the witness in question was entered as evidence. The recording was not played in court, but the contents included Baty’s friend suggesting he should take the plea offered to him, Champagne said.
The defense attorneys requested that the recording be entered into the court records but sealed because of the personal nature of its content.
While the conversation guided him to accept the plea agreement, it was still a decision made of his own free will, Baty said.
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 28.
Luke Perkins is a full-time student at Fort Lewis College and an intern at The Durango Herald. He can be reached at [email protected]