Charges against 2 teens dropped
Judge finds third defendant ‘dangerous’; hearing Nov. 29
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.