The docket

Trial date set for Red River man charged with rape

By John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 2/13/20

The 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Law Offices of the Public Defender in Taos are preparing for a trial next month in a rape case filed in July in Red River ...

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The docket

Trial date set for Red River man charged with rape

Posted

The 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Law Offices of the Public Defender in Taos are preparing for a trial next month in a rape case filed in Red River last July.

Jeff Fortenberry, 36, was indicted by a grand jury in August on four charges alleging he raped a 39-year-old woman he spent the evening drinking with in Red River on July 2 and 3: criminal sexual penetration in the first degree, a first-degree felony; aggravated burglary, a second-degree felony; aggravated battery, a third-degree felony; and false imprisonment, a fourth-degree felony.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in Taos Magistrate Court, the woman called 911 from her home on July 3 and told a dispatcher that she had fallen from her bed and injured herself. But when a deputy marshal from the Red River Marshall’s Office responded to the residence, she told him that she had been beaten and raped by a man she knew, but refused to identify. The deputy noted in the affidavit that the woman’s face was badly swollen and that she had a cut on her brow.

She provided additional detail in a subsequent interview, saying that she and the man had consumed several drinks at the local bars, including shots of liquor. After he drove her home, she said he eventually left and she fell asleep, but was eventually awakened by the sound of the door to her home opening. When she approached the doorway, she said it “felt like her face exploded.” She fell to the ground, she said, where she was kicked in the face. She said her assailant – the same man she had spent the evening with – proceeded to rape her.

“Through affiant’s investigation, it was learned that Jeff Edward Fortenberry III left the Bull O’ the Woods Saloon with [the woman] carrying a six-pack of Corona alcoholic beverage,” the deputy wrote in the affidavit, but did not note how Fortenberry was initially identified as the suspect in the case.

Fortenberry agreed to a voluntary interview with the deputy at the marshall’s office and openly acknowledged that he spent the night drinking with the woman who claimed she was raped. He denied that he was the one who had committed the crimes in question. He said that the encounter was consensual and that the woman had become injured because she had fallen from her bed onto her face.

He said he left the woman’s home when she asked him to.

A jury trial in the case has been tentatively scheduled for March 30.

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