Engelking gets probation for assault charge

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By Tris DeRoma

Trenton Engelking, 20, accused of pointing a knife at his mother’s boyfriend during an argument and stealing $3,000 from a man, accepted a plea agreement Wednesday in Los Alamos First Judicial Court.

Engelking, of Cave Creek, Arizona, pleaded guilty to both counts and was released into a drug treatment program and four-and-a-half years of probation.

The two charges were the result of two cases against Engelking. The larceny charge stemmed from a June 2016 incident and the aggravated battery charge stemmed from an incident that happened in April.

In the April incident, the boyfriend called police and when they arrived, told the responding officers Engelking pulled a knife on him. Engelking had already run away into a nearby canyon by the time officers arrived. When officers went looking for the knife, they also found a shotgun with a five-inch barrel in his bedroom. The boyfriend was trying to stop Engelking from arguing with his mother about problems he was having at work, according to the police report.

In court Wednesday, Engelking’s lawyer, Tyr Loranger, told First District Court Judge Jason Lidyard that the aggravated battery charge was something that happened because Engelking wasn’t on his medication.

“One of the compelling factors I hoped the state considered when I negotiated this plea was Mr. Engelking’s mental health at the time,” Loranger said. “At least, how I understand it in my investigation, he was not on his medications.”  

Loranger also told the judge that Engelking was not a violent person.

“This domestic incident escalated to the point Mr. Engelking was brandishing a knife and that was what gave rise to the assault charges. I don’t think there was ever an indication; at least in my review of the case Mr. Engelking was not attempting battery, it was more about threatening and menacing conduct,” Loranger said.

After Engelking’s sentencing Wednesday, the prosecution tried to have Engelking extradited to Colorado for breaking his probation there on a drug possession charge.

However, Engelking’s attorney for that hearing, Mary Carmichael McCormick, told the judge that Colorado had shown no indication that they want Engelking back. She said that if Colorado were interested in him, they would’ve issued a governor’s warrant for his arrest.

“We have nothing that says this is the actual person that’s wanted in Colorado, or that the warrant is still active,” McCormick said to the judge. “Without that we don’t know that Colorado actually wants him other than what an officer saw on a computer screen. I’m not questioning the officers’ motives at all, but as we know, NCIC (National Crime Information Center) and those computer screens can be very inaccurate. That’s why you have to get the governor’s warrant.”

Lidyard was also critical of the New Mexico Assistant District Attorney’s Michael Nunez’s reasons for the extradition motion.

“It’s my understanding that it is the governor’s warrant that authorizes the state to have the opportunity to arrest Mr. Engelking. You just can’t file a criminal complaint saying there’s a warrant in another state... The governor has to be authorized to make it happen. That’s the initiative document, not a fugitive complaint,” Lidyard said.

Lidyard then dismissed the extradition charge against Engelking, and told him to make arrangements with the Colorado court that convicted in him on what action should be taken.