Mourners Hold Vigil For Murdered Girl, Suspect In Girl’s Death Was Not Monitored By Probation Office

Aug 26, 2016

Candlelight Vigil For Murdered New Mexico GirlAssociated Press

Dozens of people gathered outside a northwest Albuquerque apartment complex for a candlelight vigil for a murdered young girl.

The complex where Victoria Martens lived opened up the property to mourners who wanted to pay their respects Thursday evening.

Mourners placed numerous balloons, toys, stuffed animals, candles and flowers at the site.

Victoria turned 10 on Tuesday, and the memorial is her belated birthday gift.

Authorities say the girl was drugged, raped and strangled before her dismembered body was found early Wednesday.

The girl's mother, her boyfriend and the man's female cousin are accused in the grisly killing.

Suspect In Girl’s Death Was Not Monitored By Probation OfficersThe Associated Press

New Mexico corrections and court officials say a man arrested in the killing of a 10-year-old Albuquerque girl was supposed to be on supervised probation from an unrelated case but wasn't being monitored by probation officers.

Deputy Corrections Secretary Alex Sanchez said Friday that her agency never received a judgment and sentence order in a previous case involving 31-year-old Fabian Gonzales.

Gonzales pleaded no contest in 2015 to two misdemeanors after his arrest for beating a woman in a car with a baby inside it while the woman was driving. A judge sentenced him to two years of probation under state supervision.

Second Judicial District Court spokesman Tim Korte says court records show the judgment and probation order were forwarded to the corrections department in February 2015.

Gonzales is the boyfriend of the girl's mother. He told reporters after his arrest that he didn't have a role in Victoria Martens' death.

New Mexico Senators Seek More Time For Prison ContractThe Associated Press

New Mexico's two U.S. senators are asking the federal Bureau of Prisons to extend its contract with the operator of a private prison in Cibola County so workers have adequate time to find new jobs before the lockup closes.

Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich made their request in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

They want the bureau to extend by six months its contract with Corrections Corporation of America and provide prison employees with help finding new employment.

The Obama administration announced last week that it's phasing out its use of some private prisons.

The senators say the closure of private prisons, particularly in rural areas, must be done in prudently. They say many of the CCA employees have strong ties to Cibola County.

New Mexico Regulators Want More Info From PNM In Rate Case – The Associated Press

New Mexico utility regulators want to reopen hearings on a proposal by the state's largest electric provider to raise customer rates.

The Public Regulation Commission voted this week to reopen the hearings if Public Service Co. of New Mexico agrees to provide more information about transactions related to an Arizona nuclear power plant and pollution controls at its coal-fired plant in northwestern New Mexico.

Commission attorney Michael Smith tells the Albuquerque Journal it's not clear how the case will proceed if the utility doesn't agree to the terms of the order.

The commission was set to make a decision on the rate proposal before the end of August.

The utility is reviewing the order.

Earlier this summer, a hearing officer recommended the commission approve a rate increase far lower than the utility's proposal.

New General Takes Charge At White Sands – The Associated Press

A new general is in charge at White Sands Missile Range.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that U.S. Army Brig. Gen Eric L. Sanchez took over the New Mexico range after a Change of Command Ceremony on Thursday.

Sanchez is a 1987 graduate of the New Mexico State University. He is returning to his home state after serving as the commanding general of the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command at Fort Shafter in Honolulu.

The mayor of the nearby town of Mesilla attended the ceremony, as did many Mesilla residents. Sanchez' wife, Teresa Sanchez, is a Mesilla native and says it is good to be home.

Mosquitoes Capable Of Transmitting Zika Found In 7th CountyAssociated Press

Mosquitoes capable of transmitting the Zika virus have been found in a seventh county in New Mexico.

The state Department of Health and New Mexico State University announced Thursday that one of the two mosquito species capable of transmitting Zika has been found in Sierra County in southwestern New Mexico.

Mosquitoes capable of carrying Zika previously were found in Chavez, Curry, Doña Ana, Eddy, Otero and Roosevelt counties.

NMSU is mapping the range and distribution of two species capable of transmitting Zika virus to people.

Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito, but it can also be spread by infected men and women to their sex partners.

Zika infections in pregnant women can cause severe brain-related birth defects.

Village Approves Incentives For Facebook Data CenterAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

New Mexico would give Facebook $10 million from a closing fund that helps pay for infrastructure as businesses expand or relocate to the state.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the Los Lunas Village Council approved the incentives Thursday for the social media company. The funds would come from the state’s Local Economic Development Act, or LEDA. That would be the largest amount ever used from the fund.

The money would pay for water rights at the center. The agreement would set aside as much as 4.5 million gallons of water a day after the center is finished.

Los Lunas would also reimburse Facebook monthly up to 75 percent of the gross tax revenues generated by the data center. The Journal reports those would not exceed $1.6 million a year.

The village would also waive property taxes on the project for 30 years, but receive payments from the company that range from $50,000 to $100,000 a year.

A Salt Lake City suburb vying against New Mexico to attract the data center restarted negotiations this week after the deal broke down over a contentious tax-break package.

The Utah deal seemed to fall apart earlier this week after the state school board decided the $240 million deal was too rich, adding their voices to a growing chorus of questions.

State Police: Lapel Video Leads To Arrest Of Police SergeantAssociated Press

Authorities say a 33-year-old police sergeant in a northwestern New Mexico city has been arrested after he unwittingly recorded himself on a lapel camera taking marijuana from his office and giving it to his girlfriend.

State police say Grants Police Department Sgt. Roshern McKinney was arrested Wednesday following an investigation requested by the Grants department in July after it discovered the video recording.

According to state police, along with allegedly giving a small amount of marijuana to his girlfriend, McKinney allegedly embezzled $785 of cash and an eight-ounce brick of marijuana not submitted to the department's evidence vault.

McKinney remained jailed Thursday on charges of distribution of marijuana, conspiracy and felony embezzlement. It could not be immediately determined whether he has an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Temporary Shelter In New Mexico To House Immigrant ChildrenAlamogordo Daily News, Associated Press

Children who immigrated alone to the United States will soon be housed at a Fort Bliss complex in Doña Ana County.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports children are scheduled to arrive at the temporary shelter early next month.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials say the facility will have the capacity for 1,800 beds, although the actual number of children who will stay there is difficult to predict.

The children will live at the shelter while Health and Human Services officials identify adults who can care for them while their immigration cases proceed in court.

Health and Human Services has more than 100 shelters in a dozen states.

Holloman Air Force Base outside Alamogordo sheltered migrant children in January and February, but that temporary shelter closed earlier this month.