Judge Denies Former Eagle Grove Officer’s Request to Reconsider Prison Sentence

Jared Strong, Iowa Capital Dispatch

(DSM, Iowa) - A district court judge declined to reduce the sentence of a former police officer accused of repeatedly harassing and stalking a woman in recent years, according to court records.


Walter Pacheco, 29, of Pleasant Hill, was sentenced to up to 19 years in prison in April after the judge decided he had wantonly violated the terms of his probation and ignored a warning from another judge that he was teetering toward incarceration. Less than a month later in May, Pacheco asked the judge to reconsider the sentence and put him back on probation, which he pledged to not violate again.


“The court’s action of sentencing the defendant to prison has impressed upon him the importance of living a lawful lifestyle,” his attorney, David Barajas of Des Moines, wrote in the request.


Pacheco — a former police officer in Carroll and Eagle Grove who is also known by the surname Pacheco Belen — has been convicted of burglary, stalking, tampering with a witness, and willful injury. A Des Moines-area woman was the victim of most of those crimes, and court records show Pacheco frequently sought to contact her and convince her to drop the charges against him through dozens of emails, telephone calls from jail, and by using his mother as a conduit for the communications. All of that was barred by no-contact orders.


Pacheco initially received suspended prison sentences and probation until a judge sentenced him in August to 24 days in jail for attempting to contact the woman at her workplace.

“Defendant was knocking on and looking into windows for the victim,” District Judge Jeffrey Farrell wrote. “This is very concerning conduct, particularly in light of the stalking and burglary convictions,” Farrell warned Pacheco that he might go to prison for further infractions, but less than two months later Pacheco was arrested for felony stalking in violation of a protective order.


He is accused of approaching the woman at a fitness center on Oct. 16 despite her attempts to avoid him, which included being escorted from the building by employees to her vehicle, court records show. Video evidence presented at a recent court hearing showed Pacheco and his mother yelling at the woman from right outside her vehicle and that Pacheco tailed her in his vehicle. Pacheco is further accused of sending her 39 emails after the incident, court records show.

“The defendant has made it clear that he will not abide by the no contact order, and based on the sentencing goal of protection of the public, the court found that revocation (of probation) was appropriate,” District Judge Sarah Crane wrote when she denied Pacheco’s motion to reconsider the sentence. “The defendant has not raised any argument that would lead the court to reconsider this determination.”


Pacheco is still held in the Polk County Jail, according to jail records. His trial for the stalking charge is set for next month, and he faces up to 10 additional prison years.


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