2/18/2010 12:51:00 PM
Not guilty plea entered in Columbus attempted murder case

By Chris Schilling

A judge entered a not-guilty plea Wednesday for a Columbus man charged with attempted murder in a shooting at Heritage Heights mobile home park that seriously injured another man.

Juvencio Montes Villanueva, 35, is charged with attempted murder, a Class A felony, and aggravated battery, a Class B felony.

Montes is accused of shooting Alberto Esparza Avitia multiple times during an incident Jan. 18 outside their mobile home. Avitia suffered wounds in the back, shoulder and neck, but has been released from the hospital.

Montes appeared before Bartholomew Superior Court 1 Judge Chris Monroe with a Spanish interpreter and said he spoke a "little bit of English."

The judge read him the charges and asked Montes if he planned to hire an attorney.

Montes said he did, but told the judge he has no money and no family or friends helping him.

Monroe appointed public defender Aaron Edwards to represent Montes.

His trial is scheduled for June. If convicted, Montes could be sentenced to between 26 and 70 years in prison.

Montes is being held at Bartholomew County Jail on $500,000 bond.

However, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities believe Montes is an illegal immigrant and have placed a hold on him, which prohibits his release from jail.