'Bounty hunter' sent to prison

ALAMOSA—Cases ranging from forged checks to bounty hunting gone wrong came before District Judge Michael Gonzales’ bench in Alamosa on Wednesday.

In addition, a vehicular homicide case against Angel Nieto, 31, charged with the January 16th death of Marcie Quintana, 24, was continued to April 18.

Also, three codefendants in the 2016 Floyd Dale McBride homicide—Shannon Cooper, Theodora Travers and Kelvin Ruybal—were in court on other cases. Several of the codefendants in that case are dealing with ongoing unrelated criminal cases. Cooper, Travers and Ruybal are charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping in connection with the McBride homicide, and Cooper is also charged with conspiracy to commit assault.

Ruybal appeared in court on Wednesday without an attorney, since he was formerly represented by David Lipka who is unable to represent him because he is representing a codefendant. Judge Gonzales appointed Pueblo attorney David Roth to represent Ruybal.

Cooper’s case was continued until next Tuesday when her other cases are scheduled. Lipka represents her and asked the court if he could address her bond on April 4. She, Travers and Ruybal remain in custody.

Travers’ case that is not related to the McBride homicide will also be heard on April 4.

In another matter before Judge Gonzales on Wednesday, the judge had to reschedule a trial he had reset the day before for Nathaniel Ferrell who faces a new trial following a mistrial earlier this month on a sexual assault charge. The judge had scheduled the new trial for April 11-13, but that did not work for the district attorney’s office, which would have to recall witnesses. Judge Gonzales on Wednesday rescheduled Ferrell’s trial for June 14-16, which is on the cusp of Ferrell’s speedy trial deadline.

In the “bounty hunting gone wrong” category, Judge Gonzales sentenced Gilbert Montano to three years in prison on a menacing charge, which involved the abduction and assault of a man Montano and a codefendant were hired by a bail bondsman to bring in because he had skipped bail.

“He was hired to pick up a bail jumper,” one of his attorneys Peter Comar told the judge during the Wednesday sentencing hearing. He did not have a gun and was as surprised as the person he and his “colleague” were bringing in when the other bounty hunter produced the weapon, Comar said.

Assistant District Attorney Ashley McCuaig asked for a five-year sentence on the menacing charge and another five years in an identity theft/forgery case, for which Montano’s defense attorney Kate Mattern requested a three-year sentence. That case involved a payroll check Montano attempted to cash at City Market.

McCuaig added that as part of this plea agreement, two other misdemeanor assault cases would be dismissed. Both of those assaults occurred in the jail, one while deputies were escorting another inmate out of his jail cell, and Montano kicked the inmate, McCuaig explained.

“Clearly he is a threat to himself and to the community,” McCuaig said.

He added that the menacing case for which Montano was to be sentenced on Wednesday was not as harmless as a bounty hunting assignment. He said Montano and his accomplice Brian Cooper abducted the victim, hogtied him, hit him, threatened to kill him and drove him around.

Judge Gonzales said violence like that should not be tolerated. He sentenced Montano to three years in prison on the identity theft/forgery and three years on the menacing case, to run consecutively for a total of six years in the Department of Corrections. The judge gave him credit for 219 days already served.

This is not the first time Montano has gone to prison, having been sentenced to six years in 1998 on a first-degree assault charge.

Mattern and Comar had asked that his sentences run concurrently. Mattern said in the case on which she represented Montano, there was no violence. It was a financial matter. She said Montano had a criminal history but his previous convictions were not recent, dating back to 1998 and 2007.

Mattern added that Montano had significant family support, with a significant other who has been by his side through all of this. She wrote a letter to the judge on his behalf. Mattern added that Montano wants to relocate to Seattle in the future and continue with his work as a tattoo artist.