Paul Trujillo Jr. was arraigned in Taos County Magistrate Court on Monday (June 19) on four felony charges related to a shooting incident Friday (June 16) on Este Es Road.
Trujillo allegedly shot …
Correction appended. Paul Trujillo Jr. was arraigned in Taos County Magistrate Court on Monday (June 19) on four felony charges related to a shooting incident Friday (June 16) on Este Es Road.
Trujillo allegedly shot Jason Martinez in the foot over a $400 debt. Trujillo was charged with shooting at or from a motor vehicle (resulting in injury to another person), assault with intent to commit a violent felony and two counts of aggravated battery. All four charges were for third-degree felonies. Magistrate Judge Ernest Ortega set a $40,000 cash-only bond.
If convicted on all counts, the 54-year-old Trujillo could serve up to 12 years in a state penitentiary.
"Sometimes these kinds of situations have unintended consequences," Ortega told Trujillo during the arraignment.
Trujillo, by contrast, was in tears. "I made a mistake," Trujillo said, his voice low and gravelly. This mistake was not Trujillo's first, however.
Trujillo - the son of Pablito "Red" Trujillo, a prominent former county commissioner - has had a long history of dramatic run-ins with the law. On Sept. 25, 1990, Trujillo was driving drunk when he struck and killed a 27-year-old man named David Craft. The then-28-year-old Trujillo subsequently fled the scene and invented a narrative in which he had picked up a hitchhiker who then beat him up and stole the Taos County-owned truck he was driving as a then-county employee. In March 1991, Trujillo was sentenced to three years in state prison, plus two years of probation for vehicular homicide, a second-degree felony. He was also ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution to Craft's family.
Since that conviction, more incidents followed. In 2000, he was found guilty of possessing a controlled substance and driving while his license was suspended or revoked. In 2009, Trujillo was found guilty of aggravated assault against a household member, a misdemeanor. In 2015, Trujillo was convicted on a charge of driving on a revoked license.
Fast-forward to 2017. On Friday morning (June 16), Martinez was in his 2002 black BMW and talking with his friend, Thomas Tuski, who stood on the driver's side of the vehicle. That was when Trujillo allegedly pulled ahead of Martinez in his Toyota truck and blocked Martinez's forward path. He then allegedly pulled out a .223-caliber AR rifle and started firing. Fleeing, Martinez backed up his car, running off the road and into a fence, but not before the car was was struck with 11 bullets and Martinez's foot had been shot.
As for the reason for the violence, in an interview with police, Martinez claimed it was because he owed Trujillo $400.
Police suspect that Trujillo may possess stolen firearms, including the AR-type weapon used in the shooting. In the meantime, Ortega ruled that Trujillo was a flight risk and a danger to the community. If he makes bail, Trujillo will be put on GPS tracking before release.
For the shooting event and related charges, Trujillo is scheduled to appear for a hearing before Judge Jeffrey Shannon at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 29, at Taos County Magistrate Court.
Corrections: In a previous version of this article, The Taos News incorrectly reported that Trujillo, as a convicted felon, could be charged for illegal possession of a firearm, and it was illegal for convicted felons in New Mexico to possess firearms in perpetuity. According to New Mexico Statute 30-7-16, a felon may not possess firearms for ten years after serving a sentence or probation. Trujillo's last felony charge was in 1991. Additionally, the previous version of the article stated that further charges could be pursued by Taos County Magistrate Court, rather than the District Attorney's office. The Taos News regrets the errors.
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