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US Jury Finds Ex-Priest Guilty Of Sex Abuse, Suspect Says He Feared For Life Before Shooting Officer

Apr 11, 2019

US Jury Finds Ex-Priest Guilty Of Sex Abuse - Associated Press

A U.S. jury has found a former priest guilty of sexually abusing a boy nearly three decades ago at a veterans' cemetery and Air Force base in New Mexico.

The jury reached the verdict Wednesday against 81-year-old Arthur Perrault, who had vanished from New Mexico in 1992.

He was returned to the United States in September from Morocco to face charges of aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact.

Authorities believe Perrault had multiple victims in New Mexico, but the charges against him stemmed only from the treatment of one boy at Santa Fe National Cemetery and Kirtland Air Force Base, where Perrault was a chaplain.

Prosecutors say the locations fall under federal jurisdiction.

Perrault maintained in court proceedings that he was innocent of the charges.

Suspect Says He Feared For His Life Before Shooting Officer - Associated Press

A man accused of killing an Albuquerque police officer says he opened fire fearing that he was going to be shot.

Davon Lymon's testimony Wednesday marked his first comments in court about the shooting that killed 47-year-old Officer Daniel Webster during a 2015 traffic stop.

Lymon is standing trial on murder and other charges filed in connection with Webster's death.

Webster was a highly decorated Albuquerque police officer and former Army Ranger.

Lymon says he was afraid Webster was going to kill him and thought the officer had put a gun to the back of his head.

Video from Webster's lapel camera captured the struggle before the shooting. Lymon yells that he's in pain as Webster yells for him to give him his right hand so he can finish handcuffing him. 

Update: Judge Denies Mistrial Motion From Suspect In Officer's Death – Associated Press

A judge has denied a request to call a mistrial after attorneys for a man charged in an Albuquerque police officer's shooting death complained about a prosecutor's line of questioning.

Judge Neil Candelaria denied the motion on Thursday morning, while warning the prosecution. Davon Lymon's attorneys had argued the prosecutor was asking prejudicial questions of him before the jury.

Lymon is standing trial on murder and other charges filed in connection with 47-year-old Officer Daniel Webster's October 2015 death.

He testified Wednesday that he opened fire during a traffic stop because he feared for his life.

Authorities say Webster pulled over Lymon in a pharmacy parking lot.

Video from Webster's lapel camera shows the officer asking Lymon to give his right hand so he can be handcuffed just before shots are fired.

 

Congresswoman Haaland Says She Will Not Run For US Senate - Associated Press

Democratic U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, has announced she will not run for U.S. Senate.

Haaland tweeted Wednesday she will pass on a chance to seek the open U.S. Senate in New Mexico and instead will remain focused on her congressional seat, which represents Albuquerque.

The Laguna Pueblo member had previously said she was interested in seeking the Democratic nomination for Senate after Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced he was retiring.

She would have faced fellow U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, a Santa Fe Democrat, who has said he would run for Senate.

Haaland made history in November when she and Rep. Sharice Davids, of Kansas, were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Davids is Ho-Chunk.

University Considers Upping Tuition To Fund Pay Raises - Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

University of New Mexico officials say they might need to increase tuition to fund a 4% pay raise for all employees.

The Albuquerque Journal reports state Higher Education Secretary Kate O'Neill sent a letter to universities and colleges across the state, instructing them to give employees a 4% raise.

The board of the University of New Mexico was scheduled to vote Tuesday on a budget that would have bumped up employee pay by 2%.

The board postponed the vote so officials could address the letter.

University president Garnett Stokes told the board that the 4% raise would cost about $16.6 million because of the higher salaries and related benefits.

She says funding the raise would likely require a tuition increase.

Central New Mexico Community College President To Retire - Associated Press

Central New Mexico Community College's longest-serving president has announced she will retire.

President Katharine Winograd said Wednesday she has agreed to serve as the school's leader until a new president is hired or until her final contract runs out at the end of June 2020.

Winograd was selected as Central New Mexico Community College president in 2007.

Under her leadership, the school increased the number of students graduating.

In 2014, U.S. Department of Education statistics ranked the school No. 1 among 1,100-plus community colleges in the country for the number of associate degrees and certificates awarded to Hispanic and Native American students.

Firefighters Contain Blaze In Eastern New Mexico  - Associated Press

Authorities say a grass fire in eastern New Mexico now is contained after charring an estimated 1,000 acres and burning four structures near Portales including two homes.

They say the fire broke out around 1 p.m. Wednesday and its cause isn't immediately known.

Portales Fire Department crews battled flames and wind gusts up to 50 mph before getting the blaze under control around 6 p.m.

People near Portales were evacuated from their homes for several hours as a precaution.

Additional crews from Roosevelt County, Clovis, Texico, Melrose, Cannon Air Force Base and Chaves County helped fight the wind-whipped fire.

Magistrate Judge Censured For Misconduct Against Neighbor - Alamogordo Daily News, Associated Press

A New Mexico magistrate judge has been censured by the state Supreme Court for alleged acts of willful misconduct against a neighbor.

The Alamogordo Daily News reported on Tuesday that Otero County Magistrate Judge Steve Guthrie gave up his right to a formal hearing as part of a stipulation agreement that also involved public censure and unsealing of the case's records.

Records state that between October 13, 2017, and April 20, 2018, Guthrie parked his vehicle in front of his next-door neighbor, Leticia Coyazo's home as a way of preventing the Coyazo grandchildren from playing basketball.

Guthrie allegedly told Coyazo that if he heard the basketball bouncing one more time, he would impede Coyazo's husband, Ysidro Coyazo, from receiving disability benefits.

Records say Ysidro is a disabled veteran who receives a monthly disability check.

Environmental Group Finds Surge In Permian Methane EmissionsAssociated Press

An environmental group says it has assembled new evidence that methane emissions in New Mexico are climbing amid a surge in oil and natural gas production in the Permian Basin.

The Environmental Defense Fund on Thursday released an analysis showing that the energy industry in New Mexico is releasing more of the potent heat-trapping gas linked to global warming than previously thought.

The group finds that statewide methane emissions are five-times higher than what is reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Defense Fund scientist David Lyon says the analysis incorporates methane-sensor measurements at about 90 locations.

New Mexico is in the early stages of developing new rules to reduce the waste of natural gas that consists primarily of methane at the direction of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Democrat Toulouse Oliver Eyes US Senate Run In New Mexico Associated Press

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is expected to jump in the 2020 race for an open U.S. Senate seat.

Toulouse Oliver campaign adviser Heather Brewer said Thursday the Democrat is actively talking to residents and will make an announcement later this month about her plans.

Her potential entrance into the race could set up a contentious Democratic primary since U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan has already said he's running for the Senate seat.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall announced in March he was retiring.

Toulouse Oliver first was elected to Secretary of State in 2015 after a special election. She easily won re-election in 2018. She'd be the state's first female U.S. Senator.

Lujan was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014 but has not run for statewide office.

Attorneys: Honduran Transgender Migrant Unlawfully DetainedAssociated Press

Civil rights attorneys are requesting the release of a Honduran transgender migrant who they say has been unlawfully held — at times in solitary confinement — at an immigration detention center in New Mexico.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico in a court filing Thursday said Nicole Garcia Aguilar was initially granted asylum by a U.S. judge in October, but the government appealed the ruling over arguments about the credibility of her claims.

The filing contends Garcia Aguilar remains in custody despite a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy that people who have been granted asylum generally merit release pending appeal.

Immigration authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Garcia Aguilar was among a wave of Central American migrants who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border in early 2018.

Irrigation Allotment Set For Southern New Mexico FarmersAssociated Press

Southern New Mexico farmers who depend on the Rio Grande will begin getting their share of irrigation water in early June.

Officials with the Elephant Butte Irrigation District say farmers can expect to start with an allotment of 6 inches (15 centimeters) per acre. That's about 163,000 gallons, or more than 617,000 liters.

The district's water adviser, Phillip King, says that allocation could increase depending on how much snow melt and spring runoff ends up in the river. He says upstream watersheds are dry so some runoff is expected to replenish the soil before having a chance to flow downstream.

Storage levels in Elephant Butte Reservoir currently sit at about 14 percent of capacity following what water managers across the state have described as a brutal year in 2018.

Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Man In Fatal ShootingAssociated Press

A defense attorney says federal prosecutors have dropped their case against a New Mexico man charged with murder in a suspected road rage-related fatal shooting after evidence was uncovered that the man he killed was the aggressor.

The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported on Wednesday that U.S. District Court records show federal prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss murder charges against Dennis Velasquez Jr. on Feb. 22, citing "evidentiary issues which may make it difficult to convict" Velasquez beyond the reasonable doubt standard at trial.

The 25-year-old Velasquez, of Gallina, was arrested four days after a Jan. 5 shooting alongside N.M. 68 in Ohkay Owingeh.

The man who was shot was later identified as 53-year-old Phillip Glock.

Albuquerque U.S. attorney's office spokeswoman Elizabeth Martinez declined to comment Wednesday on the dismissal.

Central New Mexico Community College President To RetireAssociated Press

Central New Mexico Community College's longest-serving president has announced she will retire.

President Katharine Winograd said Wednesday she has agreed to serve as the school's leader until a new president is hired or until her final contract runs out at the end of June 2020.

Winograd was selected as Central New Mexico Community College president in 2007.

Under her leadership, the school increased the number of students graduating.

In 2014, U.S. Department of Education statistics ranked the school No. 1 among 1,100-plus community colleges in the country for the number of associate degrees and certificates awarded to Hispanic and Native American students.

New Mexico Supreme Court Censures District JudgeAssociated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court has publicly censured a 10th Judicial District judge in Tucumcari for violating the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The Eastern New Mexico News reports that a document unsealed Monday by the state Supreme Court shows that Judge Albert J. Mitchell allegedly said during a meeting with Quay County Manager Richard Primrose that he would ask the governor to veto capital-outlay funds due to the county.

Mitchell denied he engaged in "willful misconduct regarding political influence." But the document shows Mitchell did not contest several allegations, including that he made statements "indicating he had the governor's ear and could call on her to line-item veto capital outlay funds for Quay County" if court-security measures weren't met.

Primrose declined to comment, and an email to Mitchell requesting comment was not immediately answered Tuesday.

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