Booking photo for Jose Mestre-Ortiz (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)

LOGAN — A 32-year-old Nibley man accused of abusing a woman and her children last year has waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Jose J. Mestre-Ortiz pleaded “not guilty” to the charges as his attorney explained they were working out a plea deal with prosecutors.

Mestre-Ortiz participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Monday afternoon, appearing by web conference. He was previously charged with three counts of child abuse, all second-degree felonies; aggravated assault and retaliation against a witness, both third-degree felonies; and two misdemeanors.

In March 2020, Cache County Sheriff’s deputies began investigating Mestre-Ortiz after receiving a complaint from the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS). The alleged victim disclosed a lengthy history of physical and verbal abuse to her and her children, occurring since 2007. She later provided a statement alleging numerous domestic violence incidents, including over 50 photographs of bruises and abrasions on both herself and her children.

The woman also told deputies how Mestre-Ortiz supposedly held her hostage and kept her from going to work. He took her car keys and cell phone and prevented her from leaving for more than a day.

Court records show, Mestre-Ortiz was released on pretrial supervision after posting $35,000 bail. He was arrested on similar offences in 2018 and later accepted a plea deal. He was ordered to serve four days in jail and 12 months probation.

During Monday’s hearing, Defense Attorney Jacob Fisher told the court they wished to waive their right to the preliminary hearing, where prosecutors would have presented their evidence in the case. He explained, they were close to a resolution with prosecutors, but did not provide any details about the conditions of the plea deal.

Mestre-Ortiz spoke only briefly, telling the court he wished to waive his rights to the hearing. He was ordered to appear again in court April 12, and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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