KINGMAN — A Topock man once charged with 24 felony counts was finally sentenced to a short prison term.

James Karl Lauver Jr., 37, pleaded guilty in August to sexual conduct with a minor. The prosecutor dismissed 23 other counts including child abuse, sexual conduct with a minor and drug charges.

Deputy Mohave County Attorney Megan McCoy said even though there were serious charges it was a difficult case to try and the victim didn’t want Lauver locked up. The plea agreement would be the best resolution to the case with the chance of an acquittal at trial, she said.

Lauver’s attorney, Robin Puchek agreed with the plea agreement, saying his client will have to register as a sex offender and will have a felony charge on his record. He also argued that the victim recanted her allegations.

Superior Court Commissioner Billy Sipe Jr. reluctantly accepted the plea agreement and took into account the lack of prior criminal history as a mitigating factor. An aggravating factor was the age of the victim.

The judge sentenced the defendant to one year in prison. 

Lauver is being credited with about eight months time he already served in jail awaiting trial and sentencing. The defendant must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The sexual conduct with a minor charge occurred between May and December 2016 in Golden Shores involving a girl who was about 15 years old.

Superior Court Judge Rick Lambert rejected the plea agreement Aug. 1, then excused himself from the case and assigned it to Sipe.

The sexual conduct and child abuse charges that were dismissed allegedly occurred between May 2016 and March 2017. The narcotic drug charges allegedly involved heroin, dilaudid and opiates. The dangerous drug charges involved methamphetamine and alprazolam.

The tampering with a witness charge occurred between February and March when he allegedly tried to influence the teenage victim.

(1) comment

jnovak67

This is what is wrong with our system.No way he gets off on the drug charges so to worry about him being found not guilty is bull.We need a new judge.

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