Betz fails to appear at sentencing
Darrell Eugene Betz, 35, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of concealing a child and a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Lassen Superior Court on Monday, Sept. 18.
According to the court file, Betz agreed to be sentenced to 18-months in jail, a stipulated sentence. The maximum sentence allowed by law, according to the court file, is four-and-one-half years.
“Imposition of prison sentence is suspended with one year in jail for count 1 and six months in jail for count 2,” the agreement read. “Defendant agrees to consecutive sentences and not to associate with non-family juveniles in person or any other means.”
When Betz failed to appear in court for sentencing, his original $7,250 bail was forfeited.
In addition, the court issued a new $10,000 bench warrant for his arrest. The warrant was entered into the National Warrant System.
According to court documents, Betz has a lengthy arrest record in Texas, but no convictions.
The Lassen County Probation Department did not agree with Betz’s plea agreement.
“Defendant entered into a plea agreement where he will be placed on formal probation,” the probation department wrote. “The probation department does not support this agreement and strongly believes that the defendant’s behavior warrants a commitment to the California Department of Corrections.”
The probation department recommended a three-year term in state prison. Should the judge grant probation, the probation department recommended five years formal probation and 18 months in the Lassen County Adult Detention Facility.
According to the court documents, Betz and the 16-year-old girl met on the Internet through myspace.com.
According to the court documents, the victim “stated she ‘played’ the defendant so she could run away from home.”
The victim said Betz kissed and fondled her after they arrived in Lassen County, and she said she eventually would have had to have sex with him had she stayed in the relationship.
“He should go to state prison so the other inmates can take care of him,” the victim said in her statement.
Betz claimed he was trying to help a young woman from a troubled home. He said her grandfather was mistreating the girl.
The victim said she now has a good life in a foster home.
Lassen County sheriff's deputies arrested Betz on Oct. 15, 2005, for allegedly driving to Napa to pick her up and bring her to his Susanville residence. Betz allegedly began an Internet relationship with the girl, who willingly went with him.
Because the case involved use of the Internet, Betz was tried in Lassen County.
According to LCSO Investigations Sergeant Ron Zielen, the Napa Police Department contacted the LCSO early in the morning on Oct. 15 with information that Betz allegedly drove to the 16-year-old's home to pick her up and bring her to his Susanville residence.
The girl's grandfather caught her leaving the house around 5 a.m. He physically tried to stop her, however she was able to break free.
According to court documents, Betz picked the girl up at another location and not at her home.
The grandfather’s report to Napa police led to Betz’s arrest in Lassen County and the girl’s safe return to Napa.
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