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Court denies Gallegos’ bond reduction motion

Posted: Friday, Apr 5th, 2013

Courier staff writer

ALAMOSA — A man accused of attempted second-degree murder will not be released from jail on a one-dollar bond, or any amount under the standard $50,000 level.

Twelfth Judicial District Judge Pattie Swift on Thursday denied Anthony Gallegos’ motion to reduce the current amount.

The judge found that the court has to ensure that a defendant’s bond amount is not oppressive. But the whole purpose of a bond is to guarantee that a defendant will return to court for his or her next appearance, she said.

In Gallegos’ case, the judge found that the court set the bond amount at the appropriate level, based on the nature of the charges against him.

The 21-year-old Alamosa man stands accused of three Class 3 felonies and one Class 4 felony, including criminal attempt to commit murder in the second degree and two counts of first-degree assault. (Prosecutors have also charged him with disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.)

“I have considered all of the factors, and really nothing has changed,” Judge Swift said.

One thing has changed, actually.

Gallegos’ jury trial is now scheduled to begin on July 22, exactly one year to the day after police arrested him for allegedly stabbing two men during an altercation.

At the prosecution’s request, Judge Swift agreed to continue the original February trial date to March, based largely on the fact that a key witness in the case would be unavailable.

However, the district attorney’s office also had trouble lining up other witnesses in the case. In addition, it reported in February that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation had not yet begun to analyze evidence that has been in the agency’s custody since last September.

The bureau subsequently approved a “rush request” to process the evidence, but it estimated that it would not be finished in time for the March trial date.

Based on that estimate, the public defender’s office asked the court to set a new trial date in late May.

In the meantime, however, Deputy Public Defender Amanda Hopkins learned that one of her colleagues would not be available that week. Unfortunately, she said, her office will have to accept the July 22 date.

But she suggested that Gallegos should not have to remain in custody until then, since the proceedings were continued through no fault of his own.

“He has tried very diligently to have a speedy resolution to this matter,” she said.

Speaking in support of Gallegos’ motion, Hopkins asked the court to consider his current situation.

Since he’s been in custody, she said, Gallegos has attended “pretty much” every treatment program that’s available to him.

If he posted bond and was released from jail, he could depend on a local network of family support, she said.

The probation department could also monitor him at an “extremely extensive” level, and he would be willing to consider a pre-trial tracking program on top of any other requirements, she said.

Hopkins acknowledged that Gallegos has a prior criminal history, and admitted that he previously failed to appear in court on unrelated matters.

However, she said the earlier cases involved traffic-related incidents, and emphasized that most of his violations occurred during the same time frame in 2009.

Deputy District Attorney Lara Reincke countered that Gallegos has a history of picking up new offenses while he was out on probation.

In this case, police arrested him within a matter of hours after he walked out of jail on probation.

The incident allegedly began when Gallegos threw a beer bottle at a passing vehicle in the 800 block of 10th Street.

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.

Moments into the alleged struggle, fellow passenger Michael Sanchez ran to the injured man’s aid and tried to wrestle the knife away from the assailant. At that point, police reported that Gallegos stabbed Sanchez four times.

Montoya sustained a puncture wound to his heart, and emergency room staffers at San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center had to crack open his chest in order to treat his injuries. However, his wounds were so severe that they flew him out of the Valley for additional medical care.

Given the nature of the charges against Gallegos, Reincke said it’s just not appropriate to reduce his bond to one dollar.

“The severity of the case just doesn’t justify any reduction of bond,” she said.

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