ALAMOSA — A presiding judge held a suspect alleged to have shot at law enforcement officers in Costilla County on Friday at $50,000 bond, this after Alamosa District Attorney Anne Kelly’s office asked for a $500,000 bond to be set.
The suspect was arrested after a three-hour standoff with law enforcement officials where he is accused of firing his weapon at officers numerous times on Friday.
According to Costilla County Sheriff Sanchez, the standoff ended peacefully with no reports of injury to either the suspect or law enforcement. The suspect was taken into custody and transported to the Costilla County Jail.
The incident occurred on Friday afternoon, and the suspect did not appear in court for advisement until Saturday. Due to the proceeding happening on a weekend, Judge William Herringer – who works in a different judicial district and serves as a “weekend magistrate” in cases occurring outside of regular hours – presided over the advisement.
According to Kelly, the prosecutor from her office recommended and argued for bond to be set at $500,000 in cash or surety, citing the seriousness of the crime and the threat the suspect posed to the community. Defense argued for a significantly lower amount.
Herringer subsequently set bond at $50,000, an amount that is a tenth of what the DA’s office had recommended.
“We were disappointed that bond was set at that amount in this kind of a case,” DA Kelly said.
As of Tuesday, the suspect remains in the Costilla County Jail.
In the past 18 months, both victims and various members of law enforcement in the San Luis Valley have, in some situations, voiced deep concerns and frustrations over the amount of bond set in cases involving suspects accused of serious felony criminal action.
Typically, the prosecutor recommends to the court what bond they feel is appropriate in a case, citing reasons for the recommendation. The defense attorney then argues for a different, typically lower, amount.
Several factors are weighed when a judge sets bond at an advisement, the proceeding where a suspect first appears in court for allegedly committing the crimes that led to the arrest.
The seriousness of the alleged crime is a big consideration, as well as the suspect’s past criminal record. The safety of others – including both the victim and the community, at large – is weighed as well as the degree to which the suspect might pose a flight risk.
Suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty.