By Jimmy Hancock
POCATELLO — In sentencing Robert F.J. Huber to 10 years in prison on Monday, Sixth District Judge Robert Naftz told the defendant he was clearly a controlling person and called him “disingenuous.”
“I find it interesting that you want the court to know that (the victim) lied, and you don’t want the court to hear any more about (the incident),” Naftz said. “I do find you rather disingenuous.”
Huber was arrested last July after he came into the Pocatello Police Department for an interview regarding an alleged incident between him and a woman three days earlier. He was originally charged with eight felonies, including one count each of first-degree kidnapping, domestic battery, attempted rape, aggravated assault and intimidating a witness, and three counts of attempted strangulation.
In April, Huber pleaded guilty to intimidating a witness and one count of attempted strangulation as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. During that proceeding, Huber’s attorney, John Souza, said his client was admitting that there were arguments that persisted between Huber and the woman and that at some point he put his arm on the victim’s neck.
Souza reiterated that scenario during Monday’s sentencing, telling Naftz that Huber’s hearing aid had come off and he was attempting to make the woman look at him during their argument so that he could understand what she was saying.
Huber’s attorney said he also took exception with Ian Service, Bannock County deputy prosecutor, reading details of the incident alleged by the victim from the presentence investigation report.
“I don’t think he deserves a harsher sentence because he won’t admit to something he didn’t plead to,” Souza said. “Mr. Huber has indicated what his behavior was.”
It was Service who made sentencing recommendations to Naftz first, telling the judge that the state was concerned not only about the violence related to this incident, but also Huber’s prior felonies that included some violent behavior.
Service recommended Huber be sentenced to serve time in prison, as was recommended in the presentence investigation report.
The victim, who was on hand for the proceeding, had little to say to the judge, except to tell him she trusted his judgment and hoped that the sentence was appropriate.
Huber, when given an opportunity to speak on his own behalf, asked Naftz’s permission to address the victim. After the judge told Huber the time was his, he spoke briefly, apologizing to the court and then apologizing to the victim.
“I want you to know I was very wrong in the way I treated you,” Huber said. “I love you and I am very sorry for what this has done to you.”
Naftz told Huber that the crime warranted prison time, saying that it would also serve as a deterrent to the defendant and to others. He then sentenced Huber to three years fixed and two years indeterminate for the intimidating a witness conviction and three years fixed and seven years indeterminate for the attempted strangulation conviction.
Naftz ran both sentences concurrent. With the nearly one year Huber has spent in Bannock County Jail taken into account, he could be eligible for parole in the summer of 2014.
By Jimmy Hancock