Alleged father in underage pregnancy refuses plea deal
KINGMAN – A Lake Havasu City man accused last year of fathering a child with an underage mother declined a plea agreement offered by prosecutors in a hearing this week. He is now expected to stand trial later this year before a jury of his peers.
Terry L. Fichtelman, 63, appeared in Mohave Superior Court on Tuesday for a change-of-plea hearing in his case. Mohave County Legal Defender Elana Sears indicated that Fichtelman may initially have expressed interest in accepting a plea deal with prosecutors, but that was no longer the case as of this week’s hearing.
On Tuesday, Fichtelman was advised of the possible sentencing range he may face - a minimum of 13 years in prison - should he be found guilty at a criminal trial. According to court documents, Fichtelman declined any possible plea agreement this week, and requested that the court appoint a new attorney to his case. The court chose not to do so as of Tuesday.
Fichtelman was charged last June with counts of sexual conduct with a minor, after a paternity test allegedly showed him to be the father of a child conceived when the victim was 14 years old.
According to Fichtelman’s felony indictment, the offense occurred between October 2017 and January 2018, when Fichtelman and the victim both resided in the same housing lot on the 4000 block of East Blue Canyon Road. Fichtelman was taken into custody by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office after deputies received paternity test results that allegedly showed Fichtelman to be the father of the victim’s child.
Fichtelman was previously convicted in California on charges of “lewd or lascivious conduct with a minor, for which he served 20 years of a 38-year prison sentence.
The victim, who is now legally an adult, requested leniency on Fichtelman’s behalf last month in a court-filed letter to Mohave Superior Court Judge Douglas Camacho.
Fichtelman is next scheduled to appear in court for a status conference on Thursday. County prosecutors have requested that a trial date be scheduled at that hearing.
As of Friday, Fichtelman remained free from custody on $25,000 bond. As a condition of his release, he has been ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim.