Shoplifting case heads to district court

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By Tris DeRoma

A March shoplifting incident that escalated into two counts of aggravated battery will be heading to district court.
The case involves one person, Jorge Talamantes, who according to eyewitnesses, tried to steal jewelry from the Jemez House consignment shop in White Rock March 14.
When witnesses saw what he was allegedly doing and confronted him, Talamantes put the jewelry back and allegedly tried to leave the store. One of the witnesses tried to prevent him from leaving, and he allegedly injured her with the door by pushing it up against her in an effort to get away.
When he and his family made it out to his car, the same witness stood in back of his car while other witnesses tried to prevent him from leaving until police arrived.
Talamantes then allegedly backed into the witness with his car, injuring her further before taking off.
In court Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist laid out probable cause to Los Alamos County Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados on why the case should go to district court. In his argument, he emphasized the injuries the witness sustained in the altercation.
“The defendant (Talamantes) intended to injure (the witness). There’s no other reason to back your car into somebody, especially after you know you’ve been accused of stealing something and there’s several people yelling at you,” he said to the judge. “You know it was a stressful situation, because he admitted to Det. (Paige) Early that he lost control. You heard in the testimony that his children were crying, and he was going to get out of there no matter what,” Wahlquist said.
Talamante’s attorney, Marc Edwards tried to get the case dismissed by arguing that the witness had no business trying to stop Talamantes in the first place. His argument was that not only did she not have the authority to stop him, but she also may have misread Talamante’s intentions.
“Your honor, whether (the witness) had the authority or not is very relevant,” he said. “Because if she had no authority, then Mr. Talamantes would have been allowed to leave. She was not allowed to constrain or confine him. She had no authority. So, for Mr. Talamantes to move this woman aside, whether gently, politely, asking before he touched her, or he just violently threw her aside. It doesn’t matter.
“He was clearly allowed to leave the store. She clearly stated today that she closed the door on him and stood between the two doors so he couldn’t open either one of them. His kids are screaming and he wanted to leave. She had no authority to block his exit so his family and his children couldn’t leave. Same goes for the vehicle. …she put herself in harm’s way with no authority to do so.”
Edwards also attacked the state’s case in general, saying it was “severely under developed” and lacking many witnesses to the alleged crime.
“The only statements I ever saw were from (the witness) and the (store) clerk.
“I don’t think the state met its burden of proof today,” he said to Casados
In the end however, Casados ruled in favor of the state, and so the case will heard in district court.
Talamantes will be tried on one count of aggravated batter (use of a deadly weapon), one count of aggravated battery (great bodily harm) and shoplifting ($250 or less — concealing merchandise).
Talamantes is expected to receive his first appearance date in Los Alamos District Court sometime next week.