A Medford man was sentenced to probation after his girlfriend captured part of an assault against her with her cellphone but then refused to cooperate with prosecutors.
However, Chad Dean Barriga, 39, of the 200 block of Elm Street, could serve 25 to 30 months in prison if he violates the terms of his probation.
He pleaded guilty Monday to fourth-degree assault. Charges of coercion, strangulation, unlawful use of a weapon, second-degree criminal mischief, interfering with a police officer, resisting arrest and harassment were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Not including his latest conviction, Barriga has been convicted of domestic violence assaults on five different women from 2003 to 2014, according to a motion filed by Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Lull, seeking to introduce evidence of his past actions.
In the latest case, a security guard at a parking structure near Middleford Alley in downtown Medford called in a disturbance May 12, 2017, the motion said.
Barriga’s girlfriend told police he became angry at her over a donation she made during a charity auction and ripped her glasses off her face and pulled her hair as they walked back to her vehicle, the motion said.
The girlfriend told police she ran to her car and locked herself inside, the motion said.
“During the investigation the officer discovered the victim had made a recording on her phone which captured the interaction between the victim and defendant from just after she locked herself in her vehicle,” the motion said.
The officer played the recording from her cellphone and captured it on his own body camera, the motion said.
Lull said the cellphone video did not capture visual images of the assault, but it did capture audio.
The girlfriend told police Barriga threatened to damage her car, then grabbed a window that was partially open and pulled out on it until it shattered. Barriga allegedly grabbed her hair and pulled her to the ground, causing her head to bounce off the concrete, the motion said.
Barriga allegedly punched her in the stomach, then covered her nose and mouth and applied pressure to her throat, the motion said.
Cellphone audio captured Barriga’s expletive-laden threats against his girlfriend and her car, a crashing sound and the victim screaming in distress, the motion said.
Police found the car with a shattered window in the parking garage and Barriga had a fresh bleeding cut on his arm, the motion said.
Lull said that Barriga’s defense attorney Jeffrey Siefman was able to negotiate a plea agreement in which his client did not receive a prison sentence in large part because the woman refused to cooperate with the prosecution.
“Without a victim, it limits what evidence we can introduce and makes the case thinner,” Lull said.
Lull said rules about how recordings can be used in trials are complicated.
The audio from the cellphone would not have been enough to prove all of the charges, such as the strangulation charge, he said.
The tearful woman appeared in court during Barriga’s sentencing, saying she was sorry for causing the situation.
“I know I sound like a manipulated victim, but that’s not the case,” she said.
But Jackson County Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia said it was clear from the cellphone audio that she was being subjected to an assault.
The woman previously filed a petition to have a no-contact order between her and Barriga lifted, but her petition was denied by another judge.
Barriga offered a different version of events about the 2017 incident.
He said he and his girlfriend were drunk, but she wanted to drive and he was stopping her.
Barriga said the car window ended up getting broken because she rolled his arm up in the window.
(The victim’s name has been removed due to privacy concerns.)