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One of three sexual assault suspects pleads guilty

Another defendant pleads not guilty
Zink

One of three men accused of sexually assaulting a woman in October pleaded guilty Friday to one count of felony assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of attempted sexual assault.

A second man pleaded not guilty Friday and set his case for trial.

James Zink, 19, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 9 in District Court in La Plata County. He faces a minimum of 10 to 16 years in prison after signing a plea agreement with the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Durango. He also faces 10 years on probation upon his release. A violation of probation could result in up to 12 years in prison.

Zink is one of three men accused of sexually assaulting a woman at gunpoint on Oct. 14 in Durango. The two other men – Devin “Ducky” Bond, 21, and Anthony “Izzy” Fitts, 19 – also appeared before 6th Judicial District Court Judge William Herringer on Friday.

Bond pleaded not guilty to six charges, including felony sexual assault. He is scheduled for a five-day trial to begin Oct. 1, with a motions hearing set for July 9.

Fitts requested a continuance of arraignment and is expected to enter a plea on June 8.

According to arrest affidavits, the men offered a woman a ride home from a party in northeast Durango. The woman was expecting to be taken to Fort Lewis College but instead was driven around town. Once parked, Zink threatened the woman with a shotgun and forced her to perform sexual acts on the men, according to court documents.

Police, who received a call from a man who had also been in the car earlier and was reporting he had money stolen from him, encountered the car with the men and woman at the Durango Skate Park in the 1300 block of Roosa Avenue and interrupted the alleged sexual assault.

Members of Zink’s family attended Friday’s plea hearing, including his mother, who sobbed throughout the hearing. After giving his plea, Zink turned around to face his mother and both began sobbing. Zink was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.

Zink also pleaded guilty Friday to a violation of bail conditions for going to two bars in Durango. Anne Woods, Zink’s defense lawyer, asked the court to set new bail in the case, saying Zink is not a flight risk or a threat to the community.

Herringer denied the request.

asemadeni@durangoherald.com

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