Judge decides protest shooting case will go to trial

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After about two days of a preliminary hearing, Judge Cristina Jaramillo decided Steven Ray Baca will go to trial for charges he’s facing, including one for shooting a man at a protest over the removal of a Juan De Oñate statue in June.

On Friday, the court heard from one witness. The defense called APD detective Kelsey Lueckenhoff to testify about when she responded to the shooting. “A briefing, which is typical procedure, was held. However, it was not a typical scenario. In this case, the briefing was held with undercover detectives that had been observing the demonstration,” she testified.

Detective Lueckenhoff was not at the scene when the shooting happened but was called to it as she was the on-call homicide detective that day. She lead the initial investigation which she said consisted of briefings, interviews, and reviewing video. She also wrote the initial criminal complaint against Baca before the investigation was turned over to a new agency.

Before closing arguments on Friday, Judge Jaramillo addressed her concerns with some of the testimonies presented on Thursday. This included the testimony of the shooting victim, Scott Williams, and his timeline of events versus what pictures and videos of the scene show. She also had concerns surrounding Baca’s intent to harm and cause of great bodily harm when shooting Williams.

“The body positioning of the defendant clearing shows the intent to injure,” John Duran, the state prosecutor, said. “His intent is not to injure, his intent is to survive,” Diego Esquibel, Baca’s attorney, said.

Judge Jaramillo changed one aggravated battery with great bodily harm charge against Baca, for throwing a woman on the ground allegedly causing her to hit the concrete, to aggravated battery. The witness testified she experienced headaches, bruising, and nausea. Judge Jaramillo said this does not meet the standards of great bodily harm.

At one point, the state tried to amend that charge to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, calling the concrete the witness allegedly hit when thrown down the ‘deadly weapon.’ Judge Jaramillo denied this. Baca’s arraignment has not been scheduled.

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