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Courts

  • Grand Jury indicts local bookkeeper

    An office manager, who kept the books for Jemez Physical Therapy in Los Alamos, was indicted on embezzlement and tax fraud charges by a grand jury in Santa Fe Friday.

    Rebecca Serrano, 46, of Espanola is accused of pilfering about $80,000 over a period of years from the practice at 2101 Trinity Dr.

    Serrano faces four counts of embezzlement and four counts of tax evasion. Because she is accused of embezzling in excess of $20,000, the charges escalate to second-degree felonies. The four tax evasion charges lodged against Serrano are fourth-degree felonies.

  • Former youth pastor gets 18 years on child porn charge

    Former Los Alamos youth pastor Matthew Nichols, 62, was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison to be followed by registration as a sex offender and lifetime supervision, according to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales. The sentence also includes a $10,000 fine.

    Nichols was a youth minister at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church when he was indicted on six charges last June. 

    In an agreement with prosecutors, Nichols pleaded guilty to one count of distribution and attempted distribution of child pornography.

  • Espanola man gets 8 years for fatal DWI crash

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An Espanola man who was driving more than 100 mph when he ran a red light and killed a father of three young children has been sentenced to 8 years in prison.

    Prosecutors say 29-year-old Andrew Trujillo was drunk while driving home from his job at the Los Alamos National Laboratory on April 10 when he struck the Harley-Davidson ridden by Medanales resident Bruce Mondragon. A police officer had just clocked his sedan at 106 mph and was turning around to chase him when the crash occurred.

  • Police: NM appeals judge arrested on DWI charges

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Appeals Court Judge Robert Eugene Robles has been arrested on aggravated drunken driving and reckless driving charges, police said.

    Robles, 60, was pulled over around 1 a.m. Wednesday on an Albuquerque street, according to police spokesman Robert Gibbs.

    He told The Associated Press late Wednesday night that Robles was held at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center and released on his own recognizance after 10-12 hours.

  • Veterans say rape cases mishandled

    WASHINGTON (AP) — More than a dozen U.S. veterans who say they were raped or assaulted by comrades filed a class-action suit in federal court Tuesday attempting to force the Pentagon to change how it handles such cases.

    The current and former service members — 15 women and two men — describe circumstances in which servicemen allegedly got away with rape and other sexual abuse while their victims were ordered to continue to serve with them.

  • Judge: Obama's health overhaul unconstitutional

    PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge in Florida ruled Monday that President Barack Obama's entire health care overhaul law is unconstitutional, placing even noncontroversial provisions under a cloud in a broad challenge that seems certain to be resolved only by the Supreme Court.

  • Suspect pleads not guilty in deadly Ariz. shooting

    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The man accused of carrying out a mass shooting in Tucson pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he tried to kill Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and two of her aides.

    The plea by Jared Lee Loughner marked his second court appearance since he allegedly shot the congresswoman and 18 others at Giffords' meet-and-greet event on Jan. 8 outside a grocery store in Tucson. Six people died, and 13 others were wounded.

  • Prosecutors seek death penalty for escapees

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in New Mexico have begun steps to seek the death penalty against two Arizona prison escapees and a woman who allegedly helped them escape.

    A federal grand jury on Wednesday returned a superseding indictment against 45-year-old John Charles McCluskey, 42-year-old Tracy Allen Province and 44-year-old Casslyn Mae Welch.

    They are accused in the murders of Gary and Linda Haas, of Tecumseh, Okla., whose bodies were found with their burned-out recreational trailer near Santa Rosa.

  • Former employee sues Secretary of State Herrera

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A former spokesman for Secretary of State Mary Herrera is suing his former boss.

    James Flores accuses Herrera of retaliating against him for speaking with the FBI about alleged corruption in the secretary of state's office.

    Flores' complaint was filed Wednesday in state district court in Santa Fe.

    Herrera denies the allegations, saying Flores was fired for being insubordinate. She wouldn't say what actions by Flores she deemed insubordinate.

  • Jury convicts Smart's kidnapper, rejects insanity

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A jury found a rambling street preacher guilty Friday of the 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart in a case that has tugged at hearts around the nation ever since the Utah teenager was snatched from her bedroom and resurfaced nine months later.

    Brian David Mitchell could face up to a life in prison when he is sentenced.