Monday, District Court Judge David Crockenberg rejected a plea agreement that would have set the maximum punishment Eloy Varos would face for being an accessory to 1st degree murder at two years behind bars.
Varos pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the murder of Brian Swartz. Varos helped dispose of Swartz's body after he was killed last year.
During the hearing, one of Varos' lawyers asked the judge to sentence him to probation, due to the fact that this was his first felony conviction and others charged in the same case also had been given probationary sentences. They also said that after spending more than a year in jail as a result of this case, Varos would like to start seeing his children again. This only incited the family of the victim.
As is customary, family members of Brian Swartz we allowed to make a statement to the court. Swartz's mother, brother and sister-in-law all spoke, and all of them said the punishment was not severe enough. Swartz's mother was adamant that probation was not acceptable.
Judge Crockenberg asked the prosecution if they felt the agreement was appropriate. They told him they could get a conviction with the evidence they had, and that the sentencing agreement reflects the level of punishment that could be allowed based on that conviction.
Because it is Varos first felony, the prosecution voiced concerned about being able to prove there were aggravating factors to a jury. Aggravating factors would increase the potential sentence to a maximum of five years.
In the end, Judge Crockenberg agreed with the family, and rejected the agreement. He gave the prosecution and defense two weeks to come up with a new agreement, or they will be forced to go to trial.