A Douglas man accused of two counts of attempted murder during a drive-by shooting this summer while awaiting trial for an aggravated assault case could sign a plea agreement as early as next week to resolve both cases, Arizona Daily Independent has learned.
Heriberto Jesus “Chino” Sierra is set to appear in Cochise County Superior Court on Dec. 6 to advise Judge Timothy Dickerson if he is accepting a plea deal offered by prosecutor Michael Powell. If the offer is rejected, the judge will then formally advise Sierra that he faces more than 50 years in prison if convicted at trial of all counts in both cases.
The plea offer by the Cochise County Attorney’s Office will require Sierra to serve time in the Arizona Department of Corrections, although the details have not been made public. It would be the fifth time since 2006 that Sierra is sent to state prison for crimes committed in Cochise County.
Sierra, 34, was arrested Feb. 26 after an innocent bystander suffered a facial laceration when Sierra and Victor Manuel Valencia got into an altercation with another man outside a Douglas convenience store. The injured bystander tried to take refuge in his vehicle, only to have a red Dodge Charger ram into the driver’s door.
A probable cause statement filed by a Douglas police officer at the time of Sierra’s arrest reveals a red Charger registered to Sierra was seized with front end damage and paint transfer matching the bystander’s vehicle.
Sierra posted a $5,000 bond at the Cochise County jail the same day he was booked. But before he could stand trial in that case, Sierra was named as a suspect in a July 29 drive-by shooting in which two people were shot at with a handgun.
The indictment against Sierra for the July incident includes one count of premeditated attempted first-degree murder of one victim and one count attempted second- degree murder for the other victim. It also alleges Sierra committed four other felonies related to the shooting, which did not injure anyone.
A nationwide warrant issued for Sierra’s arrest was executed Sept. 15 after which Dickerson set bail at $500,000. The judge cited the fact Sierra was alleged to have committed a dangerous felony while on pretrial release, as well as Dickerson’s concern for community safety.
Sierra has been unable to post bond, so he remains in jail pending resolution of the cases. The prosecutor recently secured court approval to have Sierra stand trial in the attempted murder case first, with a four-day trial set for Jan. 25, 2022 unless a plea deal is reached.
Valencia, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of reckless endangerment for his role in the Feb. 26 altercation at the Douglas convenience store. He was sentenced to three years of supervised probation.