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Courts

  • Ex-teller sentenced in embezzlement case

    Valerie Lujan, a former bank teller, was sentenced in Los Alamos District Court Wednesday for embezzling more than $20,000 from Zia Credit Union in April of 2009. According to court documents, she was working as at teller at the time she committed her crimes.
    Judge Sheri Raphaelson sentenced her to a conditional discharge with five years of supervised probation, the length of which can be shortened if she pays back the money to Zia before her probation is up. According to First Judicial Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist, Lujan has to pay back $32,914.95 to Zia Credit Union.
    Raphaelson reminded her that if she violated the terms of her probation she could be sentenced to nine years in prison. She also reminded Lujan that the charge against her won’t appear on her record, as long as she follows through with her probation and does not commit any other crimes while on probation and paying back the money to Zia.
    Lujan, who lives in Española, remained quiet through her sentencing, letting her attorney, Stephen Aarons do most of the talking. However, she made a statement in court shortly after she was sentenced, apologizing to her former employer for taking the money.

  • On The Docket 10-30-14

    Records derived from Los Alamos Municipal and Magistrate Court:
    Oct. 22

    Larry Bobo was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal County Court of failing to wear seatbelts. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.
    Oct. 23

    Karen A. Esquibel was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Trevor Orr was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of stopping, standing or parking in a prohibited or specified place. Defendant was fined $50.

    Lee Arellano was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to display a valid registration plate. Defendant was fined $50 and was ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Robert. L Swickley was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to obey a traffic signal. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

  • On The Docket 10-28-14

    Records derived from Los Alamos Municipal and Magistrate Court:
    Oct. 15

    Richard Eisenberger was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to use his seatbelts. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Janet L. Michel was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding 16 to 20 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $100 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.
    Oct. 16

    Iassac Pearson was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to display a valid registration plate while parked. Defendant was fined $50.

    John S. Harrison was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of stopping, standing or parking in a prohibited or specified space. Defendant was fined $50.

  • Los Alamos man, convicted of stalking, gets deal to leave town

    Jack Worel, a man that was convicted in January to a year of electronic surveillance for stalking a former employee of his, will not be serving the rest of his sentence.
    In a deal worked out with the assistant district attorney and the court, Worel will instead serve a year of unsupervised probation.
    According to assistant district attorney Kent Wahlquist, the state was notified by Worel that he will be moving to Washington state soon.
    “In this case, our goal is to protect the victim, and him leaving accomplishes that goal,” Wahlquist said.
    In March, the magistrate court found Worel guilty of one count of misdemeanor stalking, and was sentenced to one-year of probation with electronic monitoring.
    According to court records, Worel was found guilty of stalking an ex-employee of his in January of this year.
    The conviction stemmed from an incident in 2012 where Worel was observed tampering with the ex-employee’s car in the parking lot of De Colores, a restaurant where she worked located on East Road.
    It was later found he had installed a GPS tracking device. Police arrested him at his home two days later after they accumulated enough evidence, which including recently-purchased equipment to track and monitor cell phone calls.

  • On The Docket 10-16-14

    Records derived from Los Alamos Municipal and Magistrate Court:
    Oct. 8

    Marine Shendo was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court for failing to use a seatbelt. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Kimberly S. Temple was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of speeding one to five miles and hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $25 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Brittany Hollwell was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to use a seatbelt. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.
    Oct. 10

    Aaron L. Even was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to pay court fines and/or costs and speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $100 and ordered to pay $130 in court costs.

    Lorenzo E. Ramirez was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Christain Chavez was found guilty by the Los Alamos County Municipal Court of failing to use a seatbelt. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

  • LA man sentenced for burglary charges

    If it weren’t for a bond between two Todd Loop neighbors that once was so trusting and strong that they had each other’s house keys, Los Alamos resident John Craven could have easily been killed.
    As such, things ended better for Craven, who will only get three-years’ supervised probation and treatment for his drug addiction, according to a sentence handed out by Los Alamos District Judge Sheri Raphaelson.
    According to court documents, Craven’s brush with mortality occurred in the evening hours of Jan. 17, when he apparently decided to help himself to some of Catherine and Mike Ragsdale’s possessions while they were away.
    However, Craven’s plans were interrupted when the Ragsdales decided to come home early. According to court documents, when the Ragsdales drove up to their home they noticed their front door was wide open. They were alarmed by this, since the Ragsdales clearly remembered closing and locking it.
    Mike went into his back bedroom and retrieved his gun, and started to look around where he discovered that a jewelry box and some drawers have been rummaged through. He went to a bathroom in the residence and pushed on the door. He noticed some resistance. He pushed harder, and when it opened, he saw Craven, the son of the Ragsdale’s neighbors across the street, standing there.

  • Accused child molester faces more charges

    Christopher Davis, the 22-year-old Los Alamos man who was arrested on charges for having sex with two 14 and 15-year-old girls in May of this year, was hit with additional charges.
    According to New Mexico Assistant Attorney General Ken A. Graham, the 14 additional charges stem from the same case the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office opened up against Davis in June.
    In June, Davis was arrested on four counts of criminal sexual penetration, a fourth-degree felony; one count of criminal sexual communication with a child, a fourth-degree felony; child solicitation by an electronic communication device, a third-degree felony and sexual exploitation of children (manufacturing, a second-degree felony.
    At a hearing in district court Wednesday, Graham announced that Davis will also be charged with four counts of criminal sexual communication with a child, a fourth-degree felony; three counts of child solicitation by an electronic communication device with a child between 13 and 16 years of age, a third-degree felony; and seven counts of criminal sexual penetration, a fourth-degree felony.

  • On The Docket 10-09-14

    Records from Los Alamos Municipal and Magistrate Court:

    Oct. 1

    Deborah Swartzentruser was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to wear a seatbelt. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.
    Oct. 2

    Reynal Martinez was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to display a current, valid registration plate, and failing to appear in court. Defendant was fined $25 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs. Sentence deferred until Dec. 2.

    Wendy J. Hahn was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of stopping, standing or parking in a prohibited or specified place. Defendant was fined $50.

    Andrea D. Herrera was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of petty larceny. Defendant was ordered to pay $60 in court costs as well as spend three days in the Los Alamos County Detention Center.

    Deidre L. Thorn was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant was fined $50 and ordered to pay $65 in court costs.

    Andres Gallegos was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of failing to appear in court. Defendant was ordered to pay $65 in court costs. Sentencing deferred until Oct. 31.

  • Testimony tossed in drug case

    On Wednesday, defense attorney Kari T. Morrissey successfully suppressed key testimony in an upcoming drug case involving defendant Rowena MacDonald, a Los Alamos resident.
    In November of 2013, MacDonald was caught up in a police sweep for crystal methamphetamine. In that operation, police arrested Los Alamos resident Daniel Hoth, Albuquerque resident David Simmons and others.
    Hoth was being targeted on a warrant when police pulled him over in White Rock with Simmons in the car. A search of the car turned up crystal meth in Simmons’ possession. Simmons later confessed to police he had more in a back pack that he allegedly stored at MacDonald’s house for safekeeping, about 42.7 grams.
    Police later searched her home and recovered the backpack that did have crystal methamphetamine in it. She was not arrested at the time. Police later called her to come to the station to talk about the incident. According to Morrissey, though they read her her Miranda rights before the interview, they also allegedly deceived her into thinking she didn’t need an attorney, and that they were treating her as a witness.
    During her conversation with police, she at first denied knowing anything about what was in the backpack, but later admitted that she did have a suspicion.

  • Alleged burglar released

    If a short exchange between an inmate of the Los Alamos Detention Center and Judge Pat Casados is any indication, the couple that allegedly burglarized together apparently does not stay together.
    Ojo Caliente resident Brandi Ortiz-Middlefield, 20, went before the judge Tuesday seeking a waiver for her preliminary hearing, as well as permission to be released on a $5,000 bond until a preliminary hearing is set.
    During a question and answer session with Casados, Ortiz-Middlefield let it be known that she and her fiancé, Marcos Vigil, 21, are no longer together.
    “I want no part of him, your honor,” she said when Casados asked about her future living arrangements upon release. Vigil is still being held in the Los Alamos Detention Center on $4,000 bail. They were living together in Ojo Caliente at the time of their arrest.
    Ortiz-Middlefield and Vigil were arrested in August for allegedly burglarizing a home on Aug. 7 in the 1800 block of Sereno Street in Los Alamos. After an extensive police investigation, they were both arrested at their home in Ojo Caliente Aug. 13, and have been in custody ever since.