ALAMOSA — The preliminary hearing involving Adre Baroz, Julius Baroz and CJ Dominguez, who have been charged in connection with the human remains discovered in Los Sauces and related missing persons, has been delayed due to a motion of continuance filed by defense attorney, David Lipka. That motion was granted by Chief Justice Michael Gonzales, who is presiding in the case.
A preliminary hearing is a step in the criminal court process where the prosecutor presents, in court, key evidence to the judge who then determines if the evidence presented by the prosecution is enough to order the defendant(s) to stand trial.
In court, Lipka told the judge that defense needed more time to review the “volumes of evidence” they had just received in the fifth murder case, referring to recent charges filed against Adre Baroz in the alleged death of Korina Arroyo of Monte Vista.
Judge Gonzales mentioned this was “the second or third” continuance that had been granted in the case and indicated that, even though he allowed for the additional postponement, it was going to be the last one that he granted.
During the proceedings, Fred Johnson, special prosecutor for the state, described the case as “massive”, stating there will be upwards of 50,000 documents and a collection of interviews included in discovery.
That description was backed up by even the optics of the proceedings.
Conducted virtually, three of the four defendants were present: Adre Baroz, Julius Baroz and CJ Dominguez, all appearing virtually from where they are currently being held in the Alamosa County Jail. Their defense attorneys, some accompanied by assistants and co-counsel, were also present – David Lipka for Adre Baroz, Phil DuBois for Julius Baroz and Sam Weihman for CJ Dominguez. DA Alonzo Payne was also sitting in, as well as interested members of the public, making for a very full house, even though it was all online.
Francisco Ramirez, the fourth defendant charged in connection with the case, is being held in a separate detention facility and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on a separate date than the others.
The number of charges related to the case are extensive, with Adre Baroz facing, just on his own, 13 separate charges including, among others, Murder in the 1st degree, Tampering with Deceased Remains, and Assault.
Although the charges vary with each defendant, the case is being tried as one case, which presented a challenge and a significant amount of scheduling logistics given the numbers of attorneys involved, all of whom have other cases for which they are responsible, as well as Chief Judge Michael Gonzales who has a full docket.
The dates of August 4 and 5 were finally set for the preliminary, a full three months away. Despite the voluminous evidence in the case, Johnson said the prosecution only expects to call three witnesses to testify.