Clovis Library Shooter To Plead Guilty, ENMU Bucks Declining Enrollment Trend In State

Oct 3, 2018

Prosecutor Says Teen Suspect In Library Shooting To Plead GuiltyAssociated Press

Authorities say a teenager who opened fire at a rural New Mexico library last year has signed an agreement saying he will plead guilty. The August 2017 shooting killed two librarians and injured four others.

District Attorney Andrea Reeb said Tuesday that 17-year-old Nathaniel Ray Jouett, of Clovis, has agreed to plead guilty to 30 counts listed in an indictment filed against him, including two counts of first-degree murder.

Jouett's attorney says he agreed to plead guilty to avoid a lengthy trial that would have further traumatized victims.

Defense attorney Stephen Taylor also says he has filed a motion advocating for Jouett to be sentenced as a juvenile.

The Associated Press, which generally does not name juveniles accused of crimes, is identifying Jouett because of the seriousness of the crime.

Ex-Border Patrol Supervisor Pleads Guilty In Child Porn CaseAssociated Press

A former supervisory U.S. Border Patrol agent has pleaded guilty in New Mexico to a child pornography charge.

Federal prosecutors say 46-year-old Jason Christopher Davis of Las Cruces could serve up to 15 years in prison under the plea agreement.

Davis pleaded guilty Wednesday in an Albuquerque courtroom to production of a visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He will have to register as a sex offender.

The ex-border agent was arrested in May on suspicion of receiving child pornography.

Investigators say they found digital media with child pornography at his home.

His sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

Pedestrian Dies After Being Struck By A Train In AlbuquerqueAssociated Press

New Mexico State Police say a pedestrian is dead after being struck by a train in Albuquerque.

They have identified the victim as 62-year-old Gerald Paul Smith of Albuquerque.

State Police say their initial investigation indicates Smith was trespassing on a restricted area of the railroad tracks near Commercial and Indian School when he was struck by a Rail Runner Express train around 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The train had just left the downtown station before the fatal incident.

State Police say Smith was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

They say it's still unknown why Smith was on the tracks or whether alcohol was a factor in the incident.

State Police say their investigation is ongoing.

New Mexico Officials Probing Fish Die-Off In Pecos RiverLas Vegas Optic, Associated Press

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is investigating a fish die-off in the upper Pecos River in northern New Mexico.

The Las Vegas Optic reports the reported fish die-off from the village of Pecos to Cowles is affecting brown and rainbow trout.

Officials say it is being attributed to stress induced by low water conditions and poor water quality throughout late summer and early fall.

Most of the fish observed were adult brown trout and a few were rainbow trout.

The department expects more fish to die through the fall as brown trout undergo spawning stress and water flows continue to be very low.

Officials say waters that have been affected by die-offs will be restocked when water conditions are suitable.

Utah Election Official Going To County In Navajo Voting SuitsAssociated Press

The state of Utah will send an election official to a county dogged by allegations of discrimination against Navajo voters.

Elections Director Justin Lee said Tuesday it's a major step to ensure everything goes smoothly in the politically charged situation in San Juan County, which borders Arizona and New Mexico and overlaps with the Navajo Nation.

The county has redrawn its voting districts after a federal judge found they were illegally drawn based on race and been ordered to put a Navajo candidate back on the ballot after a judge found he was wrongly disqualified.

San Juan County officials have pushed back against the new voting districts and said the county clerk was mistaken in his handling of the candidate's disqualification.

The federal election observers also monitored the polls there in 2016.

ENMU Enrollment Remains Steady, Bucks Statewide TrendAssociated Press

Eastern New Mexico University is defying downward enrollment trends at other campuses and is reporting the second-highest enrollment in its history.

The university recently reported a 2018 fall enrollment of 6,015. Although those enrollment numbers are flat from the year before, undergraduate student numbers rose to 4,706. The undergraduate numbers are a school record.

Graduate enrollment fell at Eastern New Mexico University by 119 to 1,309 from 1,428 last fall.

Declining enrollment has become common at colleges and universities across New Mexico and around the nation. University of New Mexico officials said the state's flagship school has seen a 7 percent drop in students this year.

GOP Rep Gets One-Day Sentence For DWIAssociated Press

A judge has ordered a New Mexico lawmaker to serve a day in jail after finding her guilty last week of aggravated drunken driving.

The ruling Wednesday gives Rep. Monica Youngblood, an Albuquerque Republican, credit for time served at the time of her May arrest. The minimum sentence for the misdemeanor charge against her is 48 hours.

Youngblood's sentence also includes requirements to complete community service and pay court fines. An alcohol ignition interlock placed on her vehicle in August will remain for a year.

She has until Oct. 19 to check into jail.

Her sentence comes after the state attorney general called last week for an ethics committee review of her conduct during her arrest. Video shows her telling an officer that she's a lawmaker who advocates for police.

New Mexico Lawmaker Drafts Gun-Safety Bill For 2019 Associated Press

A New Mexico state lawmaker is drafting gun safety legislation that would penalize adults for unlocked guns that fall into the hands a minor, leading to injury or death.

Democratic Rep. Linda Trujillo announced Tuesday at a public school board meeting in Santa Fe that she plans to sponsor a child access prevention bill during the 2019 legislative session.

New Mexico currently has no law specifically requiring gun owners to prevent access to firearms by children.

Trujillo, a former school board member, said details of the legislation are still being decided, such as whether it would impose civil or criminal penalties or both. New Mexico's gun laws are under scrutiny in the fall elections for governor.

Lawmakers this year increased the penalty for illegal gun possession by violent felons.

New Mexico Spaceport Seeks Taxpayer Support For Expansion - By Morgan Lee, Associated press

The CEO of New Mexico's commercial spacecraft launch facility is stepping up pressure for more taxpayer support as lead spaceport tenant Virgin Galactic inches closer to its goal of flying tourists into the lower reaches of space.

Spaceport American CEO Dan Hicks said Monday that it's not realistic for the facility near the Army's White Sands Missile Range to be 100 percent self-sufficient financially.

Hicks foresees Superbowl-sized public interest in Virgin Galactic's first passenger flight to space, which he expects could happen within six months to a year.

Virgin Galactic has hundreds of reservations but no launch date as it executes the final stages of powered testing for its winged spacecraft.

Spaceport America is seeking a $700,000 operating budget increase.

Proposed near-term construction projects are worth $75 million.

Balloonists Getting GPS Trackers For Auto Theft Protection KOAT-TV, Associated Press

Balloonists participating in Albuquerque's hot air balloon festival are getting GPS trackers for their cars and trailers.

KOAT-TV reports that with half a million people expected to attend Balloon Fiesta, which starts this weekend, parking lots all over the city will be packed with cars and trailers.

To prevent auto thefts, the Office of Superintendent of Insurance is offering free GPS trackers this year to balloonists.

Special Agent Mark Torrez says GPS trackers will be placed in balloonists' cars or trailers.

He says the trackers will allow agents to monitor the vehicles if they are stolen.

Participating balloonists can also hang a sign from their rear-view mirror warning thieves that the vehicle could be monitored by GPS.

The agents are also offering free VIN etching for balloonists.

New Mexico Eyes Cutting 30 Percent Of State HR Jobs Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

The state of New Mexico plans to cut full-time jobs in human resources across state government by more than 30 percent.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the State Personnel Office says the goal is part of a controversial plan to move human resources bureaus from various departments into one agency.

New Mexico Lawmaker Faces Sentencing For Drunken Driving Associated Press

A state lawmaker convicted of drunken driving is set to face sentencing today in Albuquerque as she seeks re-election in November.

Republican Monica Youngblood was arrested in May on suspicion of aggravated DWI during a checkpoint stop where she told an officer she was a state lawmaker who advocated for police.

Records: Most New Voters In New Mexico Are Independents Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

State records show the biggest increase in New Mexico voter registration is among residents who declined to state a party affiliation.

The Albuquerque Journal reports nearly 54 percent of those who registered to vote from March 2017 through August of this year registered without stating a party affiliation or did so with a different political party besides Democrats or Republicans.

That's 23,380 of the 43,434 newly registered voters. The figure is more than the number of newly registered Democrats and Republicans combined.

Overall, about 22 percent of the state's registered voters are now classified as declined-to-state voters, commonly referred to as independents.

Voter registration for the coming general election closes on Oct. 9. Election Day is Nov. 6.

Navajo High Court To Hear Appeal On Presidential Term Limits Associated Press

The Navajo Nation's high court is scheduled to hear an appeal on presidential term limits.

Former presidential hopeful Vincent Yazzie contends Joe Shirley Jr. should be removed from the ballot because he already has served two terms as tribal president.

The high court ruled in 20-10 that Navajo presidents are limited to two consecutive terms but can sit out a term and run again.

Yazzie says that's not in line with tribal law.