ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Neighbors are scared after a man accused of raping and nearly killing a 75-year-old woman is back on the streets without a GPS ankle monitor.
Court records show that the case was temporarily dismissed, and News 13 looked into why.
“The horrificness of this crime, the way he left her for dead, the way he violated her, we want this guy off the streets,” APD Officer Simon Drobik told KRQE in May.
A few days later, police arrested 57-year-old Ernest Casias for raping the woman in March and nearly killing her by beating her with a hammer in her Northeast Albuquerque condo.
Police described a brutal scene inside with blood in the bedroom, the hallway and the bathroom. The victim identified Casias as her attacker, saying he “is an evil, hateful man.”
“Right away, her demeanor changed when she pointed out Mr. Casias as the offender,” Ofc. Drobik said.
Casias initially told police that he wasn’t with the victim the night of the attack.
After his first court appearance, he was out on bond with a GPS ankle monitor.
Now, records show the case is temporarily dismissed, meaning Casias is free to go with no monitoring until the District Attorney’s office re-files charges against him.
People familiar with the case are upset.
“I was disgusted,” a woman told KRQE. “When I first saw that, I was just truly disgusted and scared.”
“What they said he did is very, very sad and shocking and he shouldn’t be out. He should not be out,” a neighbor said.
Police said DNA links Casias to the crime, but the DA’s office said it needs more time to gather evidence before taking the case to court.
KRQE asked what evidence the DA’s office still needs to gather. A spokesperson from the DA’s office did not answer the question.
In the meantime, neighbors are nervous.
“A couple houses down. That’s pretty frightening. You know, I have a lot of nieces and nephews here to look after,” Lisa Ngo said. “That’s frightening to know that he’s not being watched.”
Police said Casias was the victim’s handy man and that the two may have been starting a business together.
They believe she gave him more than $25,000.
Someone close with the victim tells News 13 that the victim has been in the hospital for the last four and a half months, recovering.
We are told that she is doing better and is under tight security.