Charges against 2 teens dropped

Judge finds third de­fen­dant ‘dan­ger­ous’; hear­ing Nov. 29

Santa Fe New Mexican - - FRONT PAGE - By Robert Nott

Dis­trict At­tor­ney Marco Serna’s of­fice on Tues­day dis­missed charges against two of the three ju­ve­niles who were ac­cused of a ter­ror­ist ac­tion at Santa Fe High School.

The third de­fen­dant, Aaron Encinias, will re­main in the ju­ve­nile de­ten­tion cen­ter. He is charged with writ­ing a note threat­en­ing to shoot teachers and stu­dents in a cam­pus ram­page.

Pub­lic de­fender Mark Dick­son en­tered a plea of de­nial for Encinias and told the judge that his client is not a flight risk. He said Encinias could be placed in the cus­tody of his fa­ther and grand­moth­ers for su­per-

vi­sion and would en­ter an al­ter­na­tive ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram to keep up on his stud­ies.

“I don’t think this young man poses a sub­stan­tial risk to him­self or any­body else, or a flight risk,” Dick­son told state Dis­trict Judge Mary Mar­lowe Som­mer. She was not per­suaded. “I find that you are dan­ger­ous to oth­ers … and to your­self,” she told Encinias, who was shack­led dur­ing the 20-minute hear­ing.

Serna, in a state­ment re­leased by email Tues­day, said his of­fice “suc­cess­fully pe­ti­tioned the court to de­tain the in­di­vid­ual ac­cused of writ­ing the shoot­ing plan. … Thanks to the quick ac­tions of Santa Fe Pub­lic Schools and first re­spon­ders, we pre­vented what could have been a hor­rific ac­ci­dent.”

The other two stu­dents, San­ti­ago Tru­jillo and Ju­lian Carter, went free.

Deputy Dis­trict At­tor­ney Jason Lid­yard told the judge that pros­e­cu­tors would dis­miss the charges against them with­out prej­u­dice, mean­ing the case still could be re­vived. The judge did not op­pose or com­ment on that de­ci­sion.

The three stu­dents are 14 or 15 years old, ac­cord­ing to po­lice records. They wore brown jump­suits and sat silently, of­ten with their heads bowed. Encinias seemed to be wip­ing away tears when Mar­lowe Som­mer asked if they un­der­stood their rights.

Most rel­a­tives and friends of the three stu­dents de­clined com­ment af­ter the hear­ing. But Daniel Dowl­ing, who said he is Carter’s un­cle, said Carter had noth­ing to do with any plan for vi­o­lence. The case emerged when stu­dents on Nov. 7 found a threat­en­ing let­ter on school grounds.

That let­ter listed stu­dents and teachers who were to be killed in a shoot­ing spree. Encinias ad­mit­ted writ­ing the note, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Po­lice ar­rested Tru­jillo and Carter af­ter they said they had seen the note. Both said they did not look at it in any de­tail.

“He just hap­pened to be there when this kid said some­thing about a ‘kill list,’ which [Carter] as­sumed to be a joke,” Dowl­ing said. “He had no af­fil­i­a­tion with [Encinias]. … They rode the same bus. … He has never been to our house.”

Dowl­ing also said that po­lice of­fi­cers ar­rested his nephew un­der a false pre­tense af­ter first phon­ing fam­ily mem­bers to say that Carter’s name had been found on Encinias’ list.

Po­lice ar­rived at Carter’s house and asked if he had seen the note. He said he had and of­fi­cers locked him up with­out read­ing him his rights, Dowl­ing said. “They didn’t Mi­ran­dize him.”

Po­lice spokesman Greg Gu­rulé dis­puted this, say­ing in a state­ment that the de­part­ment’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion “was con­ducted prop­erly.”

Dowl­ing said his fam­ily was plan­ning a “free Ju­lian” party upon Carter’s re­turn home. But, he said, the pub­lic­ity sur­round­ing the in­ci­dent likely will haunt Carter when he ap­plies for col­lege or a job, as­sum­ing the news re­ports on the crime re­main on­line. “I think it’s very un­fair,” Dowl­ing said.

Un­clear is when Carter and Tru­jillo, who are on short-term sus­pen­sion, will re­turn to school.

In a state­ment, Gephardt said the dis­trict will fol­low its code of con­duct rules that state that a stu­dent will not re­main out of school more than 10 days for short-term sus­pen­sion for dis­ci­plinary rea­sons — un­less the dis­trict de­cides to place him on long-term sus­pen­sion.

Mar­lowe Som­mer sched­uled a pre­trial hear­ing for Encinias for Nov. 29.

Marco Serna

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