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Worthington man with pending felonies racks up a few more

WORTHINGTON -- A Worthington man with several pending felony charges and a history of bad behavior is scheduled to make a court appearance shortly after the new year begins on counts filed last week of burglary, stalking and a restraining order violation.

Jose Martin Lugo-Garza, 39, has felony domestic assault charges pending from incidents that allegedly took place in February and April of this year, along with two felony harassment restraining order violations for contacting a victim, entering her residence and causing her fear of harm in April.

The latest charges, filed Dec. 20, revolve around the same victim, a woman who told authorities she dated Lugo-Garza for five years before they broke up. He has not left her alone since then, she reported.

Authorities responding to a call of a violation of a restraining order on the evening of Dec. 16 were told the suspect, Lugo-Garza, was still on the premises, the criminal complaint states.

The victim met the officers and pointed out a bedroom at the rear of the house, where the suspect was found lying on the floor between the bed and the far wall of the room.

An officer noted that Lugo-Garza's eyes were allegedly bloodshot and red and that he smelled of alcohol.

After handcuffing him, the officer led him toward the door, but Lugo-Garza reportedly began to struggle, grabbing the door jam. The officer pulled him free of the door, but Lugo-Garza then refused to walk. The other officers helped move the man, who had become dead weight.

Outside the residence, Lugo-Garza refused to stand or walk, and one officer reported hearing him whimper. The officer carried, pushed and dragged him to the squad car, then had to pick him up and put him in the car -- one officer pushing from one side while another pulled from the opposite side.

The complaint states once Lugo-Garza was inside the vehicle he lay stiff across the back seat and hooked his foot under the passenger door, which prevented the officers from closing the door. After an officer got the man's foot free, Lugo-Garza did the same thing. Two of the officers were almost kicked as they struggled to get him inside the squad car.

When they got his feet inside, the officers allegedly found Lugo-Garza's head stuck out the door on the other side of the car. When an officer tried to lift his torso and told Lugo-Garza to sit up, the man responded by stiffening his body.

The officer told him to respond or he would be tased, and Lugo-Garza allegedly responded by stating, "Go ahead." After two five-second cycles of being tased, Lugo-Garza sat up.

After being taken to the law enforcement center, he declined to give a statement.

The victim said she was asleep when her child heard a knock on the door and opened it. The child said he did not give Lugo-Garza permission to enter the house.

Both said Lugo-Garza refused to leave the house, despite being told repeatedly to do so. The victim said Lugo-Garza woke her up and was crying, stating he was sick and had no one to help him. After she called authorities, the man allegedly told her, "I am going to destroy everything you own."

Lugo-Garza was sentenced in 2003 to a short jail term and three years probation after entering into a plea agreement that dismissed first- and second-degree witness tampering and second-degree assault charges.

He pleaded guilty to first-degree property damage, fifth-degree assault and harassment, and was ordered by the court to pay $1,600 in restitution for throwing a rock through a former girlfriend's car windshield.

The witness tampering charges stemmed from a separate incident in which he told a jailer that her sister better drop the charges against him or "things would happen."

On the current charges, Lugo-Garza's bail was set at $20,000. As of Monday afternoon, he was still being held in the Nobles County Jail. He was granted a public defender and is scheduled to appear before Judge Jeffrey Flynn Jan. 4.

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