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Man sentenced for role in torture of woman in Idaho Falls

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS — A judge placed a man on a rider program for his role in a woman’s torture in Idaho Falls.

Austin Alverado, 24, received his sentence Nov. 10 after pleading guilty to felony accessory to aggravated battery, felony accessory to willfully harboring a felon. When placing Alverado on a rider, District Judge Bruce Pickett gave an underlying two to 10 years in prison.

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A rider program is when a judge sends a person to prison for up to a year to undergo different treatment programs. When the inmate has completed the program, the judge can then decide to send them back to prison or release them on probation.

Alverado pleaded guilty to the felony charges as part of a plea agreement made with Bonneville County prosecutors. Initially, Alverado was charged with felony first-degree kidnapping when arrested in October 2020.

Alverado was accused of heating tools that co-defendant Jorge Luis Balderas, 26, used to burn the victim. Sasha Dee Martinez, 33, Balderas’ girlfriend, and ex-girlfriend Laura Zamudio, 28, were previously arrested and charged in connection to the case. At the time of the torture, Alverado was in a relationship with Zamudio.

RELATED | Idaho Falls woman held captive and tortured for days, police say

The Idaho Falls Police Department first learned of the case on June 22, when someone called 911 saying the victim told her she just escaped from a house near the lettered streets in Idaho Falls. How the people moved into the house near downtown Idaho Falls seems to involve a convoluted set of relationships.

The victim told police she met Balderas online in January and moved in with him in Burley. At the time, Zamudio lived with the two women. The three moved to Idaho Falls in March into Martinez’s home. Balderas and the victim then broke up and he began dating Martinez.

RELATED | Idaho Falls woman sent to prison for the horrific torture of another woman

When speaking with investigators, the victim described horrific torture suffered at the hands of her captors. She was beaten, tied to a chair and then burned. The victim ultimately escaped and a passerby called 911.

Police spent several weeks building the case and securing arrest warrants for those allegedly involved.

Zamudio was placed on a rider program in October for her role in the crime. Martinez was sentenced in July to spend five to 20 years in prison. Balderas is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 12.