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Sat, Nov. 16

Continuance issued at Cottonwood officer's hearing

Cody J. Delafuente

Cody J. Delafuente

CAMP VERDE — Monday, Cody J. Delafuente was in Yavapai County Superior Court again. Unfortunately, for those wanting any type of outcome in the case, nothing came from Monday's hearing.

Monday's hearing, a "pretrial conference/settlement/change of plea," was continued by Judge Michael Bluff until Aug. 12, based on what Coconino County Deputy Attorney Eric Ruchensky described as "an investigation about new facts that have recently come to light within the past week."

Ruchensky didn't go into much detail about what needs to be investigated further. He said he needs to speak with a sergeant from the Clarkdale Police Department, which took initial reports that led to Delafuente's charges.

Though the case is being heard in Yavapai County Superior Court, Ruchensky is the assigned prosecutor. Ruchensky phoned in to Monday's hearing; Bluff made a point of stipulating that if a plea change or agreement takes place, he expects Ruchensky to be at the hearing.

Delafuente, 28, was a detective with the Cottonwood Police Department when he was arrested in October 2018 following an investigation of domestic violence toward his wife at a home in Clarkdale. He pleaded not guilty soon thereafter, and a series of court hearings has ensued.

On June 24, Bluff extended the state’s deadline to respond to a motion from Cody Delafuente’s attorney to remand his case to the grand jury.

An Arizona Public Records Law request provided The Verde Independent with a copy of the 72-page police report that details allegations of Delafuente being violent toward his wife.

Delafuente is still employed by Cottonwood Police, but has since taken on an office role that does not involve the same level of public interaction as a detective typically would have.

According to the report, police responded to a domestic violence call on the evening of Oct. 18, from a woman saying she had been beaten by her husband.

When police arrived, the woman’s face appeared injured but said she had “walked into a wall.” Court documents show the woman told police she was pushed into a wall by Delafuente, breaking her nose and causing her to lose consciousness.

She also told police that after a 911 hang-up call, upon the call back from a dispatcher, Delafuente told the dispatcher that the call had been a misdial, but the dispatcher also heard the woman yelling something including the word "help" in the background.

Delafuente's charges include kidnapping, aggravated assault/impeded breathing, assault with intent to injure/reckless and preventing or interfering with emergency telecommunications.

Delafuente's attorney, Jason Karpel, had no objection to Ruchensky's request for an extension. Karpel recently filed a motion to send the case back to a grand jury, claiming Delafuente was denied rights by the jury not having heard all relevant evidence; Ruchensky filed a seven-page response, pointing out precedents indicating some evidence is more relevant to trials than grand jury proceedings.

Bluff chided Karpel for not being in the courtroom when Monday's hearing began, as the attorney was in the Yavapai Courthouse hallway with Delafuente and others.

"We start at 1:30, counselor," Bluff said.

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