Kidnapping, assault trial begins today

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The trial of a 32-year-old man charged with various felonies in connection with the alleged kidnapping and assault of a Craig woman is scheduled to begin today in Moffat County District Court.

James Barry is charged with seven felonies, the most serious of which is second-degree kidnapping, a Class 2 felony.

Other charges are conspiracy to commit second-degree kidnapping, a Class 3 felony; robbery, criminal extortion and second-degree assault, all Class 4 felonies; and menacing and conspiracy to commit second-degree assault, Class 5 felonies.

A judge dismissed an eighth charge, criminal attempt to commit second-degree murder, after hearing testimony and arguments during a preliminary hearing in February.

Barry, represented by Steamboat Springs attorney Kris Hammond, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The jury trial is scheduled to end Friday.

Barry and four others were charged in October 2007, after a Craig woman reported to authorities that she was kidnapped and assaulted by the suspects a month before.

The Craig Police Department and Moffat County Sheriff's Office conducted a joint investigation into the alleged incident, which, the victim told law enforcement, included her being taken against her will, strangled and warned against reporting the incident to police.

Others charged in the case were 22-year-old Megan Crook, also known as Megan Valezuela, 31-year-old Steven Casias, and 34-year-old Ramona Brassard.

Each of their cases has concluded.

According to court records, Brassard pleaded guilty in August to second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, a Class 4 felony. She was sentenced to eight years in the Department of Corrections.

Casias pleaded guilty in June to felony menacing with a real or simulated weapon, a Class 5 felony, and was sentenced to three years DOC.

Crook/Valezuela pleaded guilty in August to third-degree assault, a Class 1 misdemeanor, and was sentenced to a year in county jail.

The three also were fined and given credit for time already served.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 875-1791, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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