Two men guilty of domestic violence in Groton, Norwich

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Two men who attacked the companions of their former girlfriends resolved their cases Thursday in New London Superior Court.

Rafael Alvarado-Cortes, 24, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault, second-degree assault and carrying a dangerous weapon. He will be sentenced Nov. 2 to six years in prison followed by three years of probation. Judge Hillary B. Strackbein will be issuing a standing criminal protective order that prohibits him from ever contacting the victims.

According to Norwich Police, Alvarado-Cortes attacked his ex-girlfriend's husband, with whom she had reunited, with an axe outside of 43 Merchants Ave. on Nov. 19, 2017.  The husband suffered deep cuts to the head, ribs, arms and hands. Police said Alvarado also attacked the husband with a knife, and when the ex-girlfriend attempted to intervene, she sustained stab wounds to the hands.  

Alvarado-Cortes is being held in lieu of $155,000 at Hartford Correctional Center while his case is pending. He accepted a plea offer that was worked out between prosecutor Thomas M. Delillo and attorney Kevin C. Barrs during pretrial discussions with Judge Strackbein.

When the judge questioned him to ensure he understands the deal, he indicated he doesn't agree with all of the state's allegations and was allowed to enter his guilty plea under the Alford Doctrine. The Alford plea indicates he doesn't concede to the allegations but doesn't want to risk being convicted at trial and receiving a harsher sentence.

Also on the docket was the domestic violence case of Dominic Beltran, 23, of Ledyard, who stabbed the male companion of his ex-girlfriend, who had obtained a protective order prohibiting Beltran from contacting her, when the woman and companion arrived at her Groton City home on Feb. 5, 2017.

Beltran, who is being held in lieu of $98,200 bond at the Corrigan Radgowski Correctional Institution, was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison followed by six years of special parole.

He had pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and violation of a protective order in the domestic violence case.  He also had pleaded guilty to engaging police in pursuit in connection with an October 2016 car chase in which he fled at speeds of up to 105 miles per hour as a state trooper pursued his car, according to prosecutor Stephen M. Carney.

Judge Strackbein also issued a standing criminal protective order in Beltran's case.

His attorney, M. Fred DeCaprio, noted that the victim was significantly taller and heavier than Beltran and that they considered pursuing a self-defense claim at trial but knew it would be risky. He said Beltran had been a victim of a gunshot wound a year before the incident and continued to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Beltran apologized to the victim, who was not present, saying that he would take back his actions if he could. He said he regrets that the incident has meant he is "not there" for the daughter he had with the ex-girlfriend.

"You have the ability to make the right choices, and it's my hope you make those choices," Judge Strackbein said as she imposed the sentence.


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