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Man seeks to suppress alleged confession

Posted: Friday, Dec 7th, 2012

Anthony Nicholas Gallegos

Courier staff writer

ALAMOSA — An Alamosa man who reportedly told authorities that he stabbed two people wants to quash his alleged confession, arguing that he may have been too intoxicated to understand his Miranda rights.

Attorneys for Anthony Nicholas Gallegos are asking 12th Judicial District Judge Pattie Swift to suppress his alleged statements largely on those grounds.

Prosecutors have charged the 21-year-old man with criminal attempt to commit murder in the second degree and two counts of first-degree assault, as well as criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

The charges stem from a July 22 incident that sent one man to the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center with a puncture wound to his heart, and another man to the facility for medical treatment of four stab wounds to his left side.

Gallegos himself ended up at the hospital’s emergency room, and it was during that time that at least three officers questioned him, according to a motion signed by Deputy Public Defender Christopher Light.

Throughout the interrogation, Gallegos remained in a hospital bed, where medical personnel continued to treat him for injuries he sustained during the alleged incident.

One of the officers who was present at the scene reported that he read Gallegos his rights. According to the officer’s report, Gallegos said he understood his rights, and still wished to speak with police.

But the public defender’s office alleges that no one gave the handcuffed suspect a written copy of his Miranda rights for his review. Nor did anyone ask Gallegos to sign a formal document in which he could waive his right to remain silent, or his right to an attorney, the motion says.

Light questions whether Gallegos was fully aware that he abandoned his Miranda rights, since he allegedly indicated that he was drunk at the time.

In cases where intoxication is an issue, Light’s motion says the court should consider whether the defendant was so inebriated that he could not have knowingly or intelligently waived those rights.

“If the record does not clearly establish that the defendant understands his constitutional rights to remain silent and to have the assistance of counsel then the statement should be suppressed,” the motion says.

Police responded to the incident after the fact, and began by interviewing the brother of stabbing victim Jeremy Montoya.

According to a police report on the incident, the Montoya brothers and Michael Sanchez were driving westbound in the 800 block of 10th Street when the rear window of their car shattered.

According to a police report on the incident, Samuel Montoya stated that he heard the glass shatter, and then noticed that a man standing in the middle of the street had just thrown a beer bottle at them.

When Jeremy Montoya stopped the car and got out to see what was going on, a man identified as Gallegos allegedly ran toward him and stabbed him near his left rib cage. (A physician who subsequently examined him found that the knife punctured Jeremy Montoya’s heart.)

Moments into the struggle, Sanchez ran to the injured man’s aid and tried to wrestle the knife away from the assailant. At that point, authorities say that Gallegos stabbed Sanchez four times.

The ensuing case made its way to 12th Judicial District Court on Dec. 4, but Judge Swift continued the matter to Jan. 11, 2013, as requested by Deputy Public Defender Amanda Hopkins.

In the more immediate future, the court is scheduled to hold two Dec. 11 status conferences on previous matters.

Gallegos had just been released from the county jail on the day of the alleged stabbings, according to official complaints and reports from his probation officer.

He was out on supervised probation after he pleaded guilty to felony menacing, first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft and driving under the influence. (In exchange, the district attorney’s office dismissed three other cases in their entirety with prejudice; prosecutors also dropped a felony charge of kidnapping.)

The earlier charges date back to Jan. 29, when an Alamosa Police Department officer responded to a report that a man with a knife was threatening someone at Boyd Park.

By the time the officer arrived at the scene, the suspect had vanished. But the officer found a knife lying in the middle of the road, and one of Gallegos’ in-laws said he saw the suspect drop the knife and run away from the scene.

According to an affidavit in support of a warrantless arrest, a juvenile told the officer that a man with a brand-new chin tattoo threatened to stab him if he didn’t follow the man somewhere.

The boy said he believed the alleged threat was credible, and told the officer that he was scared.

Soon afterwards, the police department received another call. This one involved a report of a stolen 1993 Buick Century.

Less than 15 minutes later, the car was spotted “burning donuts,” or spinning around, near Ninth Street and Old Airport Road.

A police sergeant responded to that call, and spotted Gallegos outside the vehicle. When Gallegos saw the sergeant, he fled the scene, but he was apprehended after a brief foot chase, according to the affidavit.

While he tried to pull away from the officers who were holding him down, he was taken into custody, where he remains today on various charges.

Gallegos’ case took on new dimensions when his girlfriend and his mother were apprehended for reportedly trying to bail him out of jail with stolen money.

Authorities allege that his girlfriend, 26-year-old First Stop manager Loren Gutierrez, falsely claimed an unknown person broke into her car and stole a large amount of cash she planned to deposit at a local bank.

Upon further investigation, the Alamosa Police Department reportedly discovered inconsistencies with Gutierrez’s version of events. The discovery ultimately led authorities to a second woman, who was allegedly in the process of using the money to bail her son out of jail.

That woman — 42-year-old Ernestina Bernadette Gallegos — was then taken into custody for conspiracy, theft between $500 and $15,000 and tampering with evidence.

Both women posted $10,000 bonds shortly after their arrests. Gutierrez’s disposition hearing on theft-related charges is currently set for Jan. 10 in county court.

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