Holland man pleads no contest in stabbing incident

Becky Vargo • Feb 5, 2019 at 7:00 AM

A man charged with stabbing two people at a Holland apartment during a fight last year was remanded to jail Monday morning, despite pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges.

Angel Vazquez, 25, will be sentenced on two counts of aggravated assault when he returns to Ottawa County Circuit Court on March 11.

His attorney, Jennifer Kuiper-Weise, said that in 15 years of work in the court system, she has never seen a person sent to jail after a plea to misdemeanor charges. 

Judge Karen Miedema said she is concerned with the man’s violent behavior, as documented in the police report, and verified as accurate by Vazquez himself.

Kuiper-Weise argued that her client had been out on bond since the September 2018 incident, has been compliant with his probation, and works to support his girlfriend and their two children.

The prosecution argued that Vazquez has had plenty of time to make arrangements for his family’s care and pushed for him to be jailed.

Both parties noted that the plea agreement included Vazquez serving a full year in jail as the highest result possible on the misdemeanor charges.

In return for his plea, the original charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder will be dismissed at sentencing. Vazquez faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the original charges.

Miedema reviewed the police report that noted that Vazquez and some friends were at an apartment on 16th Street in Holland on or about Sept. 18. According to statements, a couple of men were wrestling and it started to look serious, so one of the victims tried to break up the fight.

A female victim also tried to intervene, but said she was attacked by Vasquez’s girlfriend. When the victim started punching back, Vaszuez’s girlfriend called for him and he tried to pull the women apart. When he was not successful, Vasquez grabbed a steak knife from the kitchen and stabbed the female victim in the neck and between the shoulder blades.

Miedema noted that the male victim saw the stabbing, but was then stabbed in the chest himself.

Both victims were taken by ambulance to a local hospital and both survived.

Kuiper-Weise said her client pleaded no contest due to possible civil litigation.

Miedema emphasized to Vazquez that a no-contest plea is still handled, for sentencing purposes, as a guilty plea.

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