Basin man arraigned on charges of threatening man with a firearm

Jessica Robinson

A Basin man recently made an appearance in BHC Fifth Judicial District Court in regards to charges alleging he threatened a man with a firearm in June.

Catarino E. Zapata is charged with felony aggravated assault with a firearm and a felony count of possession of deadly weapon with unlawful intent. He is also charged with a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment.

In an affidavit of probable cause filed with the court, a deputy with the BHC Sheriff’s Office responded to Basin Town Hall in June to speak with an officer from Basin PD. The officer allegedly reported to the deputy that Zapata and the victim went on a drive out on Lane 42 (Torchlight Road) to go shooting and discuss Zapata’s current marital affair as Zapata was accusing the victim of having an affair with his wife.

In the affidavit, the victim allegedly reported that Zapata was questioning him with a firearm in his hands in regards to having a physical relationship with his wife. The victim allegedly told the Basin PD officer that he was told to place his palm on the end of the barrel of the pistol while being questioned.

If convicted of the charges, Zapata could face up to 15 years in prison and up to one year in the BHC Detention Center. He also faces fines up to $11,000.

Sarah Miles, Zapata’s attorney, entered not guilty pleas to all the charges.

As for the amount of time needed for trial, BHC County Attorney Marcia Bean told the court three days if there are no COVID-19 protocols. If there are protocols, she requested four days. Miles agreed with the amount of time.

Bond was addressed at the arraignment. Miles informed the court that Zapata’s bond was set at $10,000 cash only and he has remained incarcerated since then. In her argument, Miles told the court that Zapata has ties to the community, no criminal history, and was not a flight risk. She said that despite the underlying facts in the charges, Zapata posed no real danger to the community.

Miles requested the court to modify the bond to $5,000 cash or surety bond.

Bean argued that the bond was appropriately set. She informed the court Zapata had been convicted of battery in 2013. As for the current case, she said this was a crime involving a firearm. She told the court the victim thought they were going to go shooting, but was threatened by Zapata because he thought the victim was having an affair with his wife. She said he is a danger.

There are no contacts in place, but Bean said they couldn’t ensure the safety of the witnesses.

Bean told the court that Zapata has said he has done this in the past and has stated that he would do it again.

Miles made a second argument, addressing what was said as speculative. She said there is nothing to suggest that Zapata poses a threat.

Judge Bobbi Overfield chose to the leave the bond as it is currently set.