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Jarnagin pleads guilty, avoids trial


Public safety — Former Newberg resident sentenced to 60 months for assault, strangulation

The trial previously scheduled for March 25 was cancelled after Kevin James Jarnagin reached a plea agreement for the three cases pending against him.

“He entered pleas of guilt and he’s off to prison,” said Yamhill County District Attorney Brad Berry.

Jarnagin, 27, was indicted in December on one count each of second-degree assault, criminal mischief and menacing, and two counts of strangulation. But while in custody he also was charged with three counts of tampering with a witness and two counts of contempt.Jarnagin

Berry said the contempt charges stemmed from failing to obey a no contact order and while in custody he tried tampering with witness’s availability and testimony, adding the three additional charges. The initial case came from charges filed by his former girlfriend.

“We were arguing and within seconds it got violent,” she wrote in her restraining order application. “Kevin choked me, lifted me up off the floor by my neck, tried biting my pinky finger off, punched me three or four times on top of my skull … He threw me repeatedly, telling me he was gonna’ kill me.”

The plea deal netted Jarnagin a total of 60 months of jail time. From the original case, he plead guilty to fourth-degree assault as domestic violence and two counts of strangulation. Those charges earned six months each to be served consecutively. He earned the remaining 42 months on the remaining charges.

These most recent charges aren’t Jarnagin’s first encounter with the law. The former Newberg resident, arrested in Carlton on the new charges, was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide in September 2012 in connection with the 2009 death of his then-girlfriend’s 7-month-old daughter, Aleeha Hardaway.

He received a 22-month sentence but was released after receiving credit for time served while awaiting trial, more than three years.

“I think as most people know we are very proactive on domestic assault cases,” Berry said. “They’re routinely complicated between the relationship of the victim and defendant, but when you have the added efforts to influence testimony in a way that’s inaccurate or lying, that exacerbated the conduct. I think you can see from the end result we view him as a potentially violent offender and one who showed complete disregard for the (criminal justice) system and the court’s order.”