Trial scheduled to begin today for man accused of using herb to try to abort girlfriend’s baby

By Dave Andrusko

scaleofjusticeIt’s been three years, but Alfredo Vargas was set to go on trial today on charges that he gave a former girlfriend Blue Cohosh, a herb known to induce labor or abortion in early term pregnancies. NRL News Today has previously written twice about the now 36-year-old Vargas. (See nrlc.cc/181qCVH and nrlc.cc/165la68.)

The most important recent development occurred last Friday when Circuit Judge Janine Kern ruled that prosecutors can introduce a recorded conversation between Vargas and his wife, Melissa Vargas.

Vargas’ defense attorneys objected, according to Andrea J. Cook, a reporter for the Rapid City Journal. Among other objections Jamy Patterson and Paul Winter argued the conversation was “privileged” because it was between spouses.

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“The only exception that would permit the use of the recording is if a child of either spouse is the subject of a crime, Winter said.

“For the judge to permit the introduction of the recording or testimony about its content would require the judge to ‘determine that this fetus is a child,’ Winter said.

“Kern, however, disagreed with the defense and said the fetus in this case is the defendant’s child.”

Judge Kern also said it was not a private conversation because although Mr. Vargas did not know the call was recorded, “Melissa Vargas allowed the detective to listen to the conversation and record it,” Cook reported.

Back in 2012, Pennington County (South Dakota) chief deputy state’s attorney Lara Roetzel said Vargas gave his girlfriend the herb from January to May of 2010. “She became suspicious and contacted law enforcement,” Roetzel said.

Alfredo L. Vargas was extradited from Puerto Rico. If convicted, Vargas faces a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

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