Local News

Man pleads guilty to breaking into home, assaulting woman

Posted November 24, 2008 7:36 p.m. EST
Updated November 25, 2008 9:08 a.m. EST

— A Jacksonville man on Friday pleaded guilty to breaking into a woman's home in Onslow County and assaulting her.

Leonel Saballos, 35, of Broken Oak Court, received a suspended 75-day sentence and 12 months' probation for misdemeanor breaking-and-entering and assault on a female.

Superior Court Judge Gary E. Trawick ordered Saballos not to have contact with the victim or her family and not to drink alcohol for 12 months.

Onslow County sheriff's deputies arrested Saballos on charges of first-degree burglary and second-degree sexual offense for the Sept. 2, 2007, incident. However, Assistant District Attorney Kelly B. Neal determined that there was insufficient evidence to prove those charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

"The victim provided inconsistent statements to the investigators as to whether there had been any penetration," Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson said in a statement. "In one statement, she said there was slight penetration. In another statement, she said that there was no penetration."

Under state law, a conviction for sexual offense requires prosecutors to prove that penetration occurred. Burglary requires prosecutors to prove the defendant entered a house with the intent to commit a felony.

In this case, the burglary charge rested on proving that Saballos entered the house with an intent to commit a sexual offense.

"Based on all the available evidence and the elements that the state had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant pleaded guilty to the charges supported by the evidence," Hudson said.

Charges that Saballos molested a teenage girl in June 2007 were dropped when the victim recanted her testimony.