Estrada makes request for reduced bond, trial

SUBLETTE COUNTY – A Sublette County man pleaded not guilty to 16 charges at his Oct. 14 arraignment in 9th District Court, from allegedly disturbing the peace to striking and strangling a live-in girlfriend.

Mark S. Estrada, who was living in a Bondurant apartment at the time, remained in custody after requesting a jury trial for the allegations against him on Sept. 12-13, according to court records.

He faces felony strangulation of a household member, 13 misdemeanors of domestic battery, unlawful contact and breach of peace with the felony charged enhanced as a habitual offender, with two prior felony convictions for stalking and assault, records show.

During his videoconference arraignment, public defender Rachel Weksler asked District Judge Marv Tyler if Estrada’s bond of $500,000 cash or surety could be reduced to $50,000 so he could return to work during the judicial process. She said he was not a flight risk.

Weksler said Estrada has been around for 15 years, has a residence in Pinedale and is willing to wear a GPS unit if he could return to work “where there is a great need for him.”

Estrada’s boss, Matt Bevan of Jackson, also addressed Judge Tyler about reducing the bond for his “irreplaceable” employee. Their projects are all in Teton County, he added.

“Mark has been a rock-solid person for our company,” Bevan said. “We’re kind of dead in the water without Mark.”

Sublette County Deputy Attorney Clayton Melinkovich disagreed with a bond reduction – “With all due respect … the (flight) risk associated with Mark Estrada is simply too great. The potential for 50-plus years in prison creates a significant incentive.”

He also expressed concern for the victim’s safety if Estrada was released on less than $500,000 bond.

Judge Tyler said he would issue an amended bond order sometime this week.

The strangulation charge as a habitual offender has maximum penalties of 10 to 50 years in prison and $10,000 fine. Each of the 15 misdemeanors carries maximum penalties of six months in jail and $750 fine.