ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The man accused of attacking church choir members at the end of mass Sunday faced a judge Monday afternoon. Family members of one of the stabbing victims were there to make sure it wouldn't be so easy for the suspect to get out of jail.
Lawrence Capener, 24, faced three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Despite his lack of violent criminal history, his bond was raised significantly.
For the first time since the attack Sunday, witnesses who were there during the attack saw Lawrence Capener appear in metro court.
Witnesses said he's the man who hurdled church pews near the end of service at Saint Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church and attacked the church choir leader, Adam Alvarez.
Police said Capener admitted to targeting Alvarez, and offered a bizarre explanation.
A criminal complaint states Capener told detectives he believed Alvarez was a free mason involved in a widespread conspiracy.
Police said Capener told medical staff the free masons tapped into the radio waves of the church microphones to send their message, and that the devil was sending a message when Alvarez sang or spoke.
Sunday, Capener allegedly said he "had enough" and attacked Alvarez, injuring four people.
Police said Capener also admitted to vandalizing a Masonic Lodge within hours before the attack, and still had spray paint on his hands when he was taken into custody.
Monday, family members of one of the victims spoke in court and asked the judge to raise his bond. "This man is very dangerous, he arrived at a place of worship with a knife and he wielded that knife in a way that could have caused death," Denise Madrid, sister of stabbing victim Gerald Madrid, told the judge. "I believe that this gentleman needs to have at least a $500,000 cash only bond."
Metro court judge Sharon Walton acknowledged the lack of violent criminal history for Capener, adding, "I am concerned also with the comments attributed to the defendant and whether or not he presents a continued risk to the community."
The judge raised Capener's bond from $75,000 cash or surety to $250,000 cash or surety. "I have mixed emotions, I do believe he's a threat to all the community but I also understand how the system works," explained Robynn Madrid, Gerald Madrid's wife.
The Madrid family owns Gerald Madrid Bail Bond Company, and are familiar with the court system. Robynn Madrid said her husband, a church musician, asked the family to be in court Monday.
"My family being in the bail industry for over 35 years, never thought we'd be on this side of it," Christian Madrid, Gerald Madrid's son, told reporters after Capener's first appearance in court. "I feel the defendant is an incredible threat to the community, but given the injuries and everything else, I'm fortunate the bond was raised."
The Madrid family said Gerald is still in serious, but stable condition in the hospital after being stabbed five times in the back. Madrid's wife said she forgives Capener, and said she prays he gets the help he needs.
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