Sun, Feb. 23

Clarkdale man faces 21 years for sex crimes

A Clarkdale man has pleaded guilty to two of six charges that he had sex with a minor. The plea agreement cut short a planned four-day trial.

The girl, now 17, says she gave birth to two children from the sexual conduct.

Maria Lugo-Palomares, who also uses the name Martin Lugo, reached a plea agreement Wednesday after the first day of his trial was recessed for the day.

The jury was warned the trial would include graphic, sexual testimony. Middle school teachers were among defense witnesses who had been subpoenaed to testify.

The 41-year-old man could face more than 21 years in prison on two counts: Child molestation with a child under the age of 12 and sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 18.

A grand jury indictment had charged the man with an act of sex between October and November of 2000, three more acts from December 2001 through February 2002. Count three alleges sexual conduct in June 2003. Count four in February 2004 and count five May 2004.

Charges were filed in July 2004.

Lugo-Palomares is scheduled to be sentenced March 13 at 3 p.m. in the courtroom of Pro-tem Judge Warren Darrow.

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