By Benjamin Porter
WOODLAND, CA – Teen Oleg Igoroviech Lavrenko here Monday in Yolo County Superior Court accepted a plea deal for the attempted murder of another teen in a case that made the local headlines last September.
Lavrenko left Monday’s hearing having plead no contest to one charge of attempted murder and one enhancement for infliction of great bodily injury.
The 14-year deal was struck, said the parties, with the agreement of both victim and defendant.
On Sept. 20, 2020, a fisherman found a 17-year-old victim beaten and left for dead near County Road 22 along the western edge of the Yolo Bypass.
An investigation led to the arrest of 18-year-old Lavrenko, who was charged with attempted murder, assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury, kidnapping, and battery, with enhancements to the first two charges to reflect the actual infliction of great bodily injury.
Lavrenko and his attorney Michael J. Wise agreed to take a plea deal which would wipe the latter three charges if he plead no contest to attempted murder and the first enhancement and agreed to
a 14-year determinate sentence.
Realizing that the dismissal of several charges might not sit well with the victim and the victim’s family and friends, Judge Stephen Mock asked for Deputy District Attorney Deanna Hays to explain how they arrived at the terms stipulated in the plea deal.
“Ms. Hays, clearly there are some significant charges that would be dismissed,” Judge Mock said. “Do you wish to make a statement for the record as to why you believe the dismissal of those charges would be in the interest of justice?”
Hays said. “I want the court to know that we’ve done this in consultation with the victim. There was quite a bit of discussion as to what a seven to life or eight to life term might look versus a determinate term. Potentially having to go to parole hearings versus having some finality. This was a number, or an amount of time, that the victim felt adequately, at least at some level, represented what he had gone through.”
In further explaining the rationale behind the plea deal, Hays argued that, given the young ages of both the victim and defendant, the certainty and finality of the deal justified removing the premeditation element.
“While the People believe this was a premeditated crime, dropping the premeditation allows this very youthful defendant to have a determinate term which we felt was in the best interests of both the victim and the defendant,” Hays said.
But in reflecting on Lavrenko’s lack of a criminal record until this incident, Hays caught herself after nearly contradicting her premeditation argument by using the word “impulsivity” in reference to Lavrenko’s crimes.
“Mr. Lavrenko does not appear to have any prior record, whether juvenile or adult,” Hays said. “He is 18 years old and the victim is 17. Based on maybe some impulsivity—even though it was premeditated—we felt that the charge itself does accurately reflect what we believe Mr. Lavrenko’s intent was,” the DDA said.
She added, “While it [the attempted murder] wasn’t completed, we had anticipated potentially offering 15 years. They countered with 14. The victim was satisfied, wanting to have some finality, and not have to go any further through the process.”
Hays concluded by noting that the victim was viewing the hearing on YouTube and would like to give statements to the court at sentencing.
After Lavrenko officially plead no contest to the attempted murder charge and the enhancement, Hays read the facts of the case for the record.
“On September 20, a person known to Mr. Lavrenko, the victim, was invited to a remote location under the ruse of going fishing…Upon arrival at that location, Mr. Lavrenko assaulted and attacked the victim in an area that, it was early in the morning and not frequented by anyone, to the point of which he was left for dead and Mr. Lavrenko left.
“The injuries that the victim sustained included traumatic brain injury, multiple orbital fractures and facial fractures, and injuries to the spine. The injuries to his head and face resulted in, among other things, a surgery that had to remove the top of his skull to relieve brain swelling. Based on the injuries, the victim was placed in a coma and was in a coma for several days. He also had some injuries to his ribs, his eyes were swollen shut,” the DDA added.
When Judge Mock then asked Lavrenko’s attorney, Wise, if he “would dispute any of the facts here,” Wise’s response indicated that some points of contention still exist, possibly referring to the use of the word “ruse,” which would be reflective of premeditation.
“Not for the purpose of the plea,” Wise said. “I would at trial, but not for the purpose of the plea.”
Judge Mock concluded the hearing by referring the matter to the probation department for a pre-sentence report and by scheduling Lavrenko’s official sentencing hearing for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31 in Dept. 14 of Yolo County Superior Court.
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