The following is a selected preview of upcoming case activity in the Taos County court system. All dates and times are subject to change.
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.
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.
Requildo Cardenas, probation violation hearing – Taos District Court, Courtroom A, Judge Sarah Backus
Cardenas was accused of shooting and killing a 22-year-old Taos Pueblo man, Matthew Lujan, in 2012. In a July 2013 district court trial before Judge Sarah Backus, he was found not guilty of second-degree murder, but jurors did not reach a verdict on a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. Backus declared a mistrial and the case returned to court two months later, when Cardenas was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison, followed by seven years of supervised release. In 2016, the guilty verdict on the 2012 case was overturned by the New Mexico Court of Appeals.
In April of this year, Cardenas pleaded no contest to a new charge of involuntary manslaughter. Sentencing was deferred for 18 months of probation, and Cardenas absconded on Aug. 22 after missing an appointment with his probation officer. A motion was subsequently filed to revoke Cardenas’ probation and he was arrested at Fred Baca Park on Aug. 28 following an officer-involved shooting. A hearing was held Tuesday (Sept. 5) regarding the violation.
Additional charges were added Tuesday (Sept. 5) in connection to the incident at Fred Baca Park, in which Cardenas allegedly attempted to flee in a vehicle and assault law enforcement officers. The new charges include three counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer, a third-degree felony; aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer, a fourth-degree felony; and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor.
Juan David Gonzalez, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom B, Judge Jeff McElroy
Gonzalez and two accomplices 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 on Dec. 5, 2016. A car chase ensued, in which Gonzalez allegedly fired an assault rifle at the pursuing officers.
Gonzalez will be tried on four felony counts and one misdemeanor. For more information on this case, read our past coverage online in The Taos News at bit.ly/2eWvPs2.
Brandon Lopez, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom A, Judge Sarah Backus
Lopez stands accused of firing the bullet that fatally wounded 23-year-old Destiny Valdez at the bypass Shell gas station in Taos on Feb. 3. Valdez died at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque on Feb. 7.
The defendant will be tried on seven felony counts. For more information on this case, read our past coverage online in The Taos News at bit.ly/2vZORTM.
Rafael Orozco, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom A, Judge Sarah Backus
On Sept. 21, 2016, Orozco allegedly struck his wife and newborn baby at Holy Cross Hospital and assaulted a health care worker, touching off a lockdown at the hospital and a monthslong search for the suspect. Orozco will be tried on two felony counts and one misdemeanor.
On Jan. 1, Orozco picked up additional charges in jail, including one felony, a misdemeanor and a petty misdemeanor, for which he will be tried at a later date.
For more information on this case, read our past coverage online in The Taos News at bit.ly/2x5dl34.
Andrew Bernard Mott, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom A, 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.
Mott will be tried on four fourth-degree felony counts. For more information on this story, read our past coverage online in The Taos News at bit.ly/2qJwr7Q.
Martin Rivera, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom B, 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.
Rivera will be tried on eight felony counts and one petty misdemeanor. For more information on this story, read our past coverage online in The Taos News at bit.ly/2pNJt7d.
Ricky M. Romero, jury trial – Taos District Court, Courtroom A, Judge Sarah Backus
Romero, a sergeant with the Taos County Sheriff’s Office who ran for sheriff in 2014, was charged with illegally billing a Medicaid program for taking care of a disabled relative during a time period when he also was on duty with the sheriff’s office, according to a complaint filed by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office.
An unopposed motion allowing Romero to travel outside of Taos County was approved on Aug. 23.
Romero will be tried on 21 felony counts. For more information on this case, read our past coverage at bit.ly/2w0bOpP.
– Compiled by John Miller