Tahlequah Daily Press

January 28, 2013

State argues against new trial for Begay

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee County prosecutors filed a formal request Friday, asking a judge to deny the new trial requested by a convicted sex offender.

Stacey G. Begay was convicted of child sexual abuse last September and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He is seeking a new trial based on what his attorney, A.J. Garcia, refers to in court documents as “new evidence” –  including statements by the alleged victim, Christina Begay.

Christina recently said her adoptive father, Stacey, never touched her sexually as investigators and prosecutors alleged, but that she and her father were instead told by police to write they had been in a sexual relationship.

Written statements provided to officers by both Stacey and Christina Begay detail the alleged sexual relationship they had reportedly been having for several months before they were caught by Terry Begay – Stacey’s husband – in April 2011.

Christina also claims prosecutors threatened her and her family when she planned to tell the court nothing had happened. Christina later went into hiding, she told the Daily Press, so she and her 1-year-old baby could not be found.

Assistant District Attorney B.J. Baker filed a motion Friday to deny Stacey’s request for a new trial, telling the court no new evidence has been discovered.

“[Christina Begay’s] testimony at [Stacey’s] sentencing was nothing new,” Baker argues in court documents. “She allegedly typed a letter that was provided to the court and the state from the defendant, which contained all of the facts that [Christina Begay] testified to at the sentencing.”

Baker said the state was prepared to confront Christina’s recantation at trial. He argues any claims that Stacey Begay did not commit child sexual abuse were contained in the letter, and cannot be described as new evidence.

“The manufactured misrepresentations that the state in any way threatened, harassed, or intimidated [Christina Begay] into hiding first of all simply are not true,” the state’s response says. “But even more importantly as to this motion [for a new trial], these allegations are not evidence that goes to the guilt or innocence of [Stacey Begay]. These false allegations of intimidation are in no way exculpatory ... as to what he did or didn’t do to his daughter.”

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. to address Stacey Begay’s request for a new trial.