Intimidation charges changed to stalking

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A Craig man accused of har--assment and ethnic intimidation learned Tuesday that he's facing a felony stalking charge that carries a possible sentence of six months to six years in prison and a mandatory two years of parole.

Eric Zimmerman, 19, appeared in district court Tuesday to be advised of his charges and his rights.

• Stella May Chapman waived her right to a preliminary hearing and pleaded guilty to motor vehicle theft, a Class 5 felony. Sentencing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Dec. 13 and is subject to terms of a plea agreement.

• Moffat County Court Judge Mary Lynne James found there was enough evidence to charge Saul Alcantar Villarreal, 38, with aggravated robbery and theft. Two men allege that on Nov. 6, Villarreal held them against their will, assaulted them, threatened them with a knife and stole $1,220 from them. Craig police Cpl. Brian Gonzalez testified that one of the victim's cheeks was red and swollen and that a knife was found in the apartment the victims said they were held in. There were no fingerprints on the knife, though, and the money was never recovered, Gonzalez said.

• A judge refused to lower bond Tuesday for a Craig man accused of possessing 1 ounce of methamphetamine.

• Jay Christopher Vatalaro, 25, of Craig, was charged with a Class 3 felony on suspicion of possession with intent to sell methamphetamine and possession of more than 1 ounce of methamphetamine. Vatalaro's lawyer, William Fritsche of Steamboat Springs, asked a judge to lower the bond from $50,000 to $15,000. But Judge James, citing the quantity of methamphetamine Vatalaro is accused of possessing, refused. Vatalaro is due back in court Dec. 13.

-- Daily Press staff

Zimmerman was arrested Nov. 3, when he went to the Moffat County Public Safety Center to file a report accusing his alleged victim of harassing him. But the victim had made the same allegations against Zimmerman.

Craig police Lt. John Forgay said Zimmerman left several threatening voice and text messages with another man, which resulted in his arrest.

Zimmerman originally was arrested on the charge of ethnic intimidation because some of the messages he left referred to the victim's sexual orientation, Forgay said.

He was formally charged with Class 5 felony stalking, which includes making incredible and repeated threats, Moffat County Court Judge Mary Lynne James said.

A restraining order was issued against Zimmerman, preventing contact with his alleged victim. He's due back in court Dec. 20 for a status conference.

Reporter Brandon Johansson contributed to this story.

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