St. James man pleads guilty to 2007 assault
WORTHINGTON -- More than four years ago, authorities in Pipestone and Nobles County were looking for a man who was allegedly responsible for stabbing one victim and kidnapping another. Most assumed he had fled the country and would never be found.
But in October 2011, William Ramirez Perez, also known as Wilberto Moya Arce, Estuardo Ramirez Perez and Filemon Ramirez Perez, was arrested in Ohio and returned to Minnesota to face a dozen felonies in two counties.
Earlier this week, Perez pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Nobles County District Court under a plea agreement that could potentially have him serving 199 months in prison.
The criminal complaints state authorities were contacted at about 3 a.m. Oct. 8, 2007 with a report of a woman who had been taken from a mobile home in Pipestone.
When deputies arrived at the scene, they found an empty trailer and puddles of blood in the kitchen and bedroom.
Minutes later, a report of a man who had been stabbed was called in to dispatch.
The man later told authorities he had been in bed with his girlfriend in the trailer when Perez came in, stabbed him and took the woman. The male victim said Perez punched the woman, then grabbed a knife.
Medical records from Pipestone show the male victim had at least 12 knife wounds, including cuts and stab wounds on his leg, groin, neck, cheek, chin and throat. All of the wounds required sutures.
At approximately 9:20 a.m., the Worthington Police Department was contacted regarding an assault victim from Pipestone in the emergency room.
It was discovered that a man had dropped the woman off at the hospital, but left when staff started asking questions.
The doctor told the investigating officer the woman had severe facial injuries around her eyes, including cut marks, and had been raped. In speaking to the victim, the officer observed bite marks on her wrist, what appeared to be a cigarette burn on her leg and an eight centimeter cut on her inner thigh.
The woman said her husband, from whom she had been separated for eight months, had come into the trailer and stabbed her boyfriend, punched her several times, then dragged her out and put her in his van.
During the drive to Worthington, her husband, who she knew as Arce, extinguished a lit cigarette on her leg.
At a mobile home in Worthington, Perez sexually assaulted her, threatening to stab her.
After the alleged rape, the victim told Perez she needed medical treatment and asked to go to the hospital.
She said she told Perez she would not report the assault to hospital staff.
At his plea hearing Tuesday, Perez pleaded guilty to the criminal sexual conduct charge, but told Judge George Harrelson burning the woman with a cigarette was an accident and that she had asked him to have sex with her.
Under questioning from Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore, Perez refused to admit he had forced the woman, yet repeatedly stated he was guilty.
He had not kidnapped her, he said -- the woman had come to him to apologize "for what she did with the other man."
Last week, Perez pleaded guilty in Pipestone County District Court to kidnapping and first-degree assault in the same case.
The terms of the plea agreement in Nobles County call for the exact sentence to be determined by the state's sentencing guidelines after a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) is complete.
Moore said he and the Pipestone County attorney had figured Perez had a criminal history score of 4 points after the Pipestone plea, which would result in approximately 199 months incarceration.
A PSI will be completed in each county by the same person, to double check the attorneys' calculations.
Harrelson, after listening to Perez's repeated admissions of guilt but refusals to admit to facts, asked Perez if he would like to make an Alford Plea.
A plea of this type, Harrelson explained, means the defendant was not admitting to guilt, but believed the jury would likely convict him based on witness testimony.
Perez accepted the offer, and the judge accepted the guilty plea.
The sentences in Pipestone and Nobles counties will be served concurrently, with the Nobles County charge carrying the largest penalty.
Moore said the plea agreement had been discussed with the female victim, who is satisfied with the disposition.
Perez, having been asked if he would like to speak, said he was very sorry for what he had done and for the "damages he had permitted."
He apologized for committing crimes in this country and state, stating the woman used to be his wife and he was "sorry for the things I did to her."
Perez was remanded to the custody of the Nobles County Sheriff's Office, where he will remain until the sentencing.
Victims will be given a chance to offer impact statements at the hearing.
Daily Globe Reporter Justine Wettschreck can be reached at