The docket

Karin Eberhardt

The following is a selected preview of upcoming case activity in the Taos County court system. Please note that all dates and times are subject to change.


July 17

Postponed - jury trial scheduled for Juan David Gonzalez  - Taos District Court, Courtroom A, Judge Jeff McElroy

On Dec. 5, 2016, Gonzalez and two accomplices, Jenna Trujillo and Diana Castro, were accused of fleeing two New Mexico State Police officers attempting to serve a warrant for Gonzalez's arrest in the Ranchos de Taos Post Office parking lot. A car chase ensued, in which Gonzalez allegedly fired an assault rifle at the pursuing officers. Following a nightlong manhunt, all three suspects were arrested and charged.

Gonzalez will be tried on two counts of assault with intent to commit a violent felony on a peace officer, a second-degree felony; possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon, a fourth-degree felony; tampering with evidence, a fourth-degree felony; and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor.

A new date for Gonzalez's jury trial has not yet been scheduled.


July 24

8:45 a.m. Motion hearing for Brandon Lopez - Taos District Court, Courtroom B, Judge Sarah Backus

A motion hearing - a hearing in which defense and prosecuting counsel have the opportunity to make arguments to exclude or include certain pieces of evidence or testimony during trial - has been set in the case against Brandon Lopez.

Lopez faces nine charges, including first-degree murder, a capital offense, for the alleged Feb. 3 fatal shooting of Destiny Valdez, 23, at the Shell "bypass" gas station in Taos.

2 p.m. Docket call for Rafael Orozco - Taos District Court, Courtroom A, Judge Jeff McElroy

A docket call - a hearing to schedule upcoming activities in a case - has been set for Rafael Orozco.

Orozco stands accused of abuse of a child, a third-degree felony; battery upon a health care worker, a fourth-degree felony; and battery against a household member, a misdemeanor - all connected to an event that happened Sept. 22, 2016, at Holy Cross Hospital that caused a lockdown of the facility and a monthslong manhunt for the suspect.

July 31

2 p.m. Motion hearing for Ricky M. Romero - Taos District Court, Courtroom B, Judge Sarah Backus

A motion hearing has been set in the case against Ricky M. Romero, a sergeant with the Taos County Sheriff's Office who has been charged with 21 fourth-degree felony counts for allegedly illegally billing a Medicaid program for taking care of a disabled relative. Romero is accused of submitting the false claims while employed with the sheriff's office.

Coming up...

Trials for Orozco, Lopez and Andrew Bernard Mott are all tentatively scheduled for October in Taos District Court. Trials for Cristian Orozco and Martin Rivera are tentatively scheduled for November.

- Compiled by John Miller