Felon accused of shooting at neighbor in Ranchos to remain jailed

By John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 5/12/20

A man charged with attempting to shoot and kill his neighbor in Ranchos de Taos in April, one week after he was placed on supervised probation for an aggravated battery felony conviction, will be …

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Felon accused of shooting at neighbor in Ranchos to remain jailed

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A Ranchos de Taos man who was placed on probation in April in an aggravated battery case picked up new charges a week later for attempting to shoot and kill his neighbor, a new case alleges.

Chief 8th Judicial District Court Judge Emilio Chavez last week granted a request from the 8th Judicial District Attorney's Office to keep Roland Sisco in jail until trial on the new case, which charges Sisco with attempted first-degree murder, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm by a felon and tampering with a motor vehicle.

According to a statement of probable cause, Sisco, 29, admitted during an interview with a Taos County Sheriff's detective that he had fired at least one shot at his neighbor, John Christman, on April 24, who was parked in a van near his property. Sisco also asked a family member to turn in the rifle he said he used to shoot at Christman. The detective said the state would take into consideration his cooperation with the investigation while prosecuting the charges.

Christman told a Taos County Sheriff's deputy who investigated the incident that he had complained in the past to Sisco about shooting firearms near his home, where he lives with his wife, daughter and son. Other neighbors in the area also told the deputy they commonly heard gunshots in the neighborhood, but didn't specify whether they were fired by Sisco.

During the encounter on April 24, Christman said he was getting out of his van when Sisco told him he was going to kill him and then shot at him three times. Christman said the bullets struck his vehicle but didn't hit him. Christman said he then went inside his house, told his daughter to call 911 and armed himself with a baseball bat. He said he went back outside and tried to take photos of Sisco that might serve as evidence, but investigators said they couldn't clearly identify who was pictured in the photos.

A Taos County Sheriff's deputy wrote in a report that Sisco's family members told a different story – that Christman had been the aggressor in the incident and had pointed a firearm at their home. But the deputy said that she could see on Christman's van where at least one bullet had penetrated a window and broken out the other side. She also found a shell casing near where Sisco had allegedly fired the rifle. The deputy could not, however, locate Sisco anywhere in the neighborhood during the initial investigation. Sisco was arrested on warrant on April 29.

A sergeant with the sheriff's office also later forwarded a text message conversation he obtained that allegedly shows Sisco's daughter apologizing to Christman's daughter, "saying sorry for what her dad did to her dad."

Tim Hasson, a prosecutor with the 8th Judicial District Attorney's Office, noted the evidence and referred to Sisco's extensive history of criminal charges in the Taos County court system during the pretrial detention hearing held last week.

The charges before the court represent a continuation and an escalation in the criminal activity of the defendant," Hasson wrote in his motion to hold Sisco without bond.

On April 17, Sisco pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm. In exchange, the DA's office suspended a three-year prison sentence and granted Sisco probation. Sisco also has another prior felony conviction for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for a case filed in November 2016 and a pending case for trafficking methemphetamine filed in Taos Magistrate Court.

Sisco's defense attorney, Aleksandar Kostich of the Taos Public Defender's Office, did not respond to a request for comment on his client's case as of Tuesday (May 12) afternoon.

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