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Councilor pleads guilty to harassment

Posted: Friday, Jul 19th, 2013

Courier staff writer

ALAMOSA — An Alamosa city councilor who waved a stun gun at his son during a lawn-watering dispute pleaded guilty on Thursday to misdemeanor harassment.

Leland A. Romero appeared briefly in Alamosa County Court, but he declined to give Judge Daniel Walzl a factual basis for his plea.

“I guess that what I have to say is irrelevant at this point,” Romero said.

In exchange for his plea to the lowest-level harassment offense, the district attorney’s office agreed not to prosecute Romero for use of a stun gun, a Class 5 felony.

Prosecutors originally charged Romero with both offenses, following a May 11 report of a disturbance on 11th Street.

When an officer arrived at the scene, Romero reported that he was trying to evict his son from the rental property. But the eviction process wasn’t going very well, he said.

Romero told the officer that he was trying to water the lawn in order to keep the grass from dying. But his son kept turning the sprinklers off, he said.

When the officer asked Romero about the stun gun, Romero pulled the device out of a pocket and handed it over to him. Romero told the officer that he never turned the Taser on, but his son disputed that statement.

Lucas Romero said the argument began when he stepped outside his home to shut off the sprinklers. As he did so, his father told him: “don’t turn off those (expletive) sprinklers.”

The son replied that he needed to turn them off, since they’d already been on for three hours.

At that point, his father began to walk toward him, warning him that he would “(mess) him up” if he touched the sprinklers.

Lucas Romero ignored the warning and bent down to the ground in the direction of the sprinklers. His father then pulled a Taser out of his pocket, turned it on and lunged at him, he said.

In response, Lucas Romero ran inside the house, locked the door and called police.

However, Leland Romero’s written statement on the incident contradicted his son’s version of events.

He said his son threatened him when he dropped by the house to take care of the lawn. When he told his son to leave the water on, Lucas Romero lunged toward him, called him a “little b---h” and waved his hands in a threatening manner, he said.

Lucas Romero then began to egg his father on, telling him: “let’s go, little b---h,” he said.

When his son raised his hands a second time, Leland Romero pulled the Taser out of his pocket and said: “don’t you dare.” Lucas Romero then backed away and went into the house, his father said.

The officer reported that he found inconsistencies between Leland Romero’s verbal and written statements; a woman who was present at the scene also confirmed Lucas Romero’s version of events.

No one was injured during the incident.

Romero is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 8.

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