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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : regional May 28, 2016

3/30/2014 7:38:00 AM
Balys, accused of sex offenses, turns down plea, heads for trial

Scott Orr
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - Jeffrey Balys on Wednesday turned down a plea offer in his online sex sting case, setting the stage for a jury trial.

Balys, 48, the most outspoken of the so-called Yavapai 6 - defendants accused of online sex chats with an undercover Yavapai County sheriff's detective - has been saying since his arrest that he wanted to go to trial.

He is facing four counts of luring a child for sexual exploitation and one count of aggravated luring. Balys was arrested after Detective Pam Edgerton, playing the role of a 13-year-old girl, said she had conducted several Internet chats of a sexual nature with Balys in January 2011, and that he wanted to set up a meeting with "Chrissy," the girl she was portraying.

Balys denies that, said he tried to get Edgerton to leave him alone, and that she continued to push. He said he was a victim of entrapment.

The plea agreement he turned down - against the advice of his attorney, Matt Cochran - would likely have meant he would be sentenced to probation, but he's said he won't plead guilty to something he didn't do.

The other five Yavapai 6 members have either accepted plea deals or gone to trial and lost.

Balys thinks he has a better chance, though, because he wants to impeach Edgerton's credentials, something he said hasn't been done in previous cases.

Still in question is a judge's order that the contents of the detective's computer be turned over to the defense, which on Wednesday Balys said had not happened.

Follow the reporter on Twitter @AZNewsguy

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