A Smithfield man was sentenced to jail time and probation on Monday, bringing to a close a 2019 sexual assault case.
Raymond Andrew Castaneda, 24, was sentenced to 18 months in the Cache County Jail backdated to June 1, 2020, and a term of probation. He also was granted work search and release during the last six months of his jail sentence.
Castaneda pleaded guilty in March to amended charges in the case: first-degree attempted rape, third-degree attempted forcible sexual abuse and third-degree aggravated assault. A second, similar case against Castaneda was wholly dismissed as part of a plea agreement that avoided mandatory sentences.
During Castaneda’s appearance, defense attorney Wayne Caldwell told the court his client had solid familial support and had sustained long-term employment prior to his incarceration.
Castaneda apologized to the court and to the victim for his actions.
“It was wrong and I regret it,” Castaneda said.
Castaneda also expressed his hope for the victim to fully recover from the incident.
“It’s important to me that she does,” Castaneda said. “I’m fully committed to righting my wrongs.”
Prior to sentencing, the victim described to the court controlling and oppressive behavior from Castaneda. During the incident, she said she was strangled and Castaneda hit her head against a car window; she told the court she sped away in her vehicle, flashing headlights at police cars, hoping to be pulled over so she could report the incident without calling authorities. She said the incident wasn’t isolated and she had grown increasingly fearful of Castaneda.
“That was the worst night of my life,” the victim said.
Cache County prosecutor Griffin Hazard told the court the case involved “violence and manipulation,” and recommended the court impose a jail sentence in lieu of prison. The victim confirmed to the court she, too, was in favor of the sentence.
The first case was filed against Castaneda in June 2019. An affidavit stated Castaneda physically and sexually assaulted the victim, leaving markings on her neck and “hickies” on her body. After Castaneda was arrested and released on bail in the case, court records show a second case was filed four months later.
The sexual assault alleged in the second case was said to have preceded the events of the first case by one day. With sexual assaults alleged to have happened hours apart, Castaneda was booked into jail again in October 2019, where has since been held on a no-bail status.
In September, prosecutors expressed disappointment when a necessary witness in the second case didn’t appear for a evidentiary hearing after being subpoenaed. As a result, prosecutors withdrew a “doctrine of chances” motion.
Typically, evidence gathered in one criminal case cannot be used to support a separate criminal case. The doctrine of chances, if sustained by a judge in specific circumstances, allows prosecutors to argue that separate events can prove that a defendant exhibits a pattern of behavior. The doctrine of chances was used to combine the rape cases of six women against former USU football player Torrey Green. Green was found guilty when convictions in the cases would have been much more difficult to obtain if tried separately.
Castaneda was set for trial three times. His cases were delayed multiple occasions for reasons including the recent COVID-19 restrictions on the court. Motions were filed in Castaneda’s cases to dismiss the charges as a result of speedy trial violations and prejudice to the defendant due to the delays.