Former Static-X Guitarist Is a Free Man, For Now
MTV.com is reporting that former STATIC-X and DOPE guitarist Tripp Eisen was released from a California state prison last week, a little more than six months after his arrest on a single crimes-against-children count.
Eisen's freedom could end up being short-lived, depending on what next week brings. He's due to stand before a judge in New Jersey on October 7 for arraignment on charges of sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, luring and endangering the welfare of a child.
Eisen, whose real name is Tod Rex Salvador, was arrested in Orange County, California in late February for allegedly meeting and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl a few weeks earlier in New Jersey. The 39-year-old musician allegedly met the Sayreville, New Jersey girl on the Internet, drove from Pennsylvania on January 7 to meet her, and assaulted her in a shopping center in Old Bridge, New Jersey. The girl's mother found out about the incident and alerted police.
On February 10, Eisen was arrested on one felony count of crimes against children. Authorities from the Orange County (California) Sheriff's Department found the 39-year-old musician sleeping in a parked car with an underage female with whom he'd just had sexual intercourse, according to Bergen, New Jersey's The Record. Eisen was taken into custody and released on $100,000 bail several hours later.
Steve Meister, Eisen's defense counsel for his California criminal case, told MTV.com that the guitarist accepted the terms of a plea bargain on June 24. "He acknowledged his responsibility," Meister said, and pleaded guilty to two felony counts of engaging in unlawful sex with a minor. He was sentenced to a term of one year, but because he'd been in custody since late February, "[Eisen] had substantial custody credits" and wound up "serving just a couple of months."
Meister told MTV.com that because Eisen pleaded guilty to felonies that weren't "as serious," he was only required to serve half of his one-year sentence. Eisen "made a mistake, he owned up to it, and he paid his penance," the attorney said.
According to Meister, the plea deal followed soon after "a preliminary hearing that substantially weakened the [prosecution's] case, but ultimately, we were not going to have the defenses available to us that we wanted, and so it became clear that we had to try to resolve it by way of a plea instead of a trial.
"The [California accuser's] credibility was very shaky," explained Meister. "She told people she was anywhere from 14 to 19. She told a cop one age, a detective another, [Eisen] another. She met him at an 18-and-older club, so she either had a fake ID or lied to the bouncers. We weakened the prosecution's case, but really, [Eisen] had a reasonable, good-faith belief that she was an adult."
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