Ex-cop accused of threatening witness against him

By: - November 23, 2022 2:03 pm

A former police officer facing multiple felony charges is in jail after he was accused of threatening to harm a witness to prevent her from testifying against him. (Photo via Commonwealth of Massachusetts)

A former police officer who faces numerous felony charges in connection with allegations of harassing and stalking a Des Moines woman is now accused by prosecutors of threatening to harm her to prevent her from testifying against him.

Walter Pacheco, 28, of Pleasant Hill, had been released from jail pending the outcome of several criminal cases that were initiated in April and involved the woman, according to court records. Pacheco is accused of repeated harassment over the course of about two months.

Walter Pacheco is accused of threatening to harm a woman to prevent her from testifying against him. (Photo courtesy of Polk County jail)

Pacheco is a former police officer in Carroll and Eagle Grove and had been accused of — but not criminally charged with — similar harassment before his hires. He surrendered his peace officer certification in September.

Court records show that the woman told Pacheco to stop contacting her but in in February, March and April he sent her messages, tried to talk to her where she worked and at home, stole her security camera and damaged her yard by driving a vehicle on it.

In July, he pleaded guilty to felony willful injury and misdemeanor stalking, but about 10 days later he allegedly went to an office building that she was cleaning and barged in when she opened a back door to take out some trash, court records show.

He allegedly took her cellphone, keys and an electronic ear bud and ran when she threatened to call police.

Pacheco — who is also known by the surname Pacheco Belen — faces multiple felony charges of robbery, burglary, theft, assault and stalking.

Court records show there were ongoing negotiations to resolve all of the criminal charges with one plea agreement. However, Pacheco was accused of contacting the woman again in October and making “threats of bodily injury and violence … with the intent to interfere with the prosecution” of the most-recent charges. No further details of the alleged threats are contained in public court records.

On Oct. 24, the attorneys Pacheco had retained to represent him asked to withdraw from the cases, citing “a breakdown of the client-attorney relationship,” court records show. He is now being represented by a court-appointed public defender.

On Nov. 9, a county prosecutor filed a new charge of tampering with a witness and asked a judge to revoke Pacheco’s release from jail. He was arrested Nov. 17 and has been jailed since, court and jail records show.

A judge revoked his bond and cited as a reason his “character and mental condition.”

A sentencing hearing for Pacheco’s guilty pleas is set for Dec. 14, however that hearing was scheduled before his first attorneys withdrew and before his recent arrest. It’s unclear in court records how the cases will proceed. The felonies he faces are punishable by decades in prison.

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Jared Strong
Jared Strong

Senior reporter Jared Strong has written about Iowans and the important issues that affect them for more than 15 years, previously for the Carroll Times Herald and the Des Moines Register. His investigative work exposing police misconduct has notched several state and national awards. He is a longtime trustee of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, which fights for open records and open government. He is a lifelong Iowan and has lived mostly in rural western parts of the state.

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