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.
No trials for selected defendants scheduled for this month.
No hearings scheduled for selected defendants this month.
David W. Lewis, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom A, Judge Emilio Chavez
Lewis, a Carson man, was arrested in August 2015 on suspicion of committing sexual crimes against a child and was indicted by a grand jury that year. The incidents in question are believed to have occurred between February 2007 and June 2015.
While Lewis was incarcerated in the Taos County Adult Detention Center, he later bonded out on a $50,000 bond.
Lewis will be tried on two counts of criminal sexual penetration in the first degree for allegedly committing sexual crimes against a child under 13 years old, a first-degree felony, and two charges of criminal sexual penetration in the second degree for allegedly committing sexual crimes against a child under 13 years old, a second-degree felony.
Juan David Gonzalez, jury trial – 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.
Brandon Lopez, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom B, Judge Sarah Backus
Lopez, a Ranchos de Taos man, stands accused of firing the bullet that fatally wounded 23-year-old Destiny Valdez at the bypass Shell gas station in Taos the night of Feb. 3. Valdez died at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque on Feb. 7.
The defendant will be tried on one count of first-degree murder, a capital felony; shooting at or from a motor vehicle (resulting in great bodily harm), a second-degree felony; two counts of aggravated battery (with a deadly weapon, resulting in great bodily harm or death), a third-degree felony; two counts of aggravated assault (use of a deadly weapon), a fourth-degree felony; tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony; and two counts of criminal damage to property (over $1,000), a fourth-degree felony.
Rafael Orozco, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom B, Judge Sarah Backus
On the morning of Sept. 21, 2016, Orozco entered Holy Cross Hospital, where his wife had just given birth, and allegedly struck his wife, the newborn child and assaulted a health care worker, touching off a lockdown at the hospital and a monthslong search for the suspect. The event made national news.
In October, Orozco will be tried on one count of abuse of a child, a fourth-degree felony; battery upon a health care worker, a fourth-degree felony; and battery against a household member, a misdemeanor.
Note: On Jan. 1, Orozco picked up additional charges in jail, including bringing contraband into a jail, a fourth-degree felony; possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor; interference with bomb or fire control, a misdemeanor; and criminal damage to property, a petty misdemeanor. The defendant will be tried on the charges in a separate case at a later date.
Andrew Bernard Mott, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom B, Judge Sarah Backus
Mott, a 58-year-old Costilla resident, was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an off-duty New Mexico State Police officer and his family with a .45-caliber firearm on March 11.
The operation to place Mott in custody, planned as a “discreet” state police operation, sparked rumors throughout Taos County on the morning of his arrest as a convoy of black armored vehicles and heavily armed officers made its way north through Taos to execute an arrest warrant.
Mott will be tried on four fourth-degree felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
Martin Rivera, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom A, Judge Jeff McElroy
Rivera, a Ranchos de Taos man who had been released on prior charges last year, allegedly committed a string of crimes from April 6-11 with a juvenile accomplice, including a stabbing and multiple assaults and armed robberies that extended from Taos County south to Río Arriba County.
The crime spree set off a statewide manhunt that led to Rivera’s arrest outside an apartment in Albuquerque.
Rivera will be tried on nine counts: armed robbery, a second-degree felony; aggravated burglary (armed with a deadly weapon), a second-degree felony; kidnapping (victim held to service), a second-degree felony; assault with intent to commit a violent felony (robbery), a third-degree felony; abuse of a child (first offense, placed in a dangerous situation), a third-degree felony; contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a fourth-degree felony; unlawful taking of a vehicle or motor vehicle (first offense), a fourth-degree felony; criminal damage to property (over $1,000), a fourth-degree felony; and negligent use of a deadly weapon (endangering the safety of another), a petty misdemeanor.
– Compiled by John Miller