*Editor’s note: A correction has been issued for this article. KRQE News 13 initially reported that the defendant shot someone and then pushed two others. The error has been corrected below.
That decision came after two victims in the case told the judge it was the right choice. “Two years less one day, all of which will be suspended, the defendant will be on supervised probation for that term,” said Judge Brett Loveless.
A no-jail time sentence was delivered on Wednesday for Steven Baca, three years after the Onate protest outside the Albuquerque Museum ended in gunfire. Originally facing up to four years in prison, Baca told the court he showed up to the June 2020 protest to support a friend and ended up shooting a protestor whom he got into a fight with. Baca pleaded to lesser charges, including aggravated battery, simple battery, and illegally carrying a firearm.
Story continues below
- New Mexico: New Mexico lawmaker looks to boost substance use recovery services in the U.S.
- Crime: Alamogordo police charge man for October road rage shooting
- Albuquerque: Albuquerque officials describe challenges of cleaning homeless camps during injunction
- Local: Los Lunas Village Council postpones decision on Niagara Bottling expansion
A video shows Baca tugging one woman down to the ground; both women testified in court. “As far as Baca, I do not ask for a sentence that involves incarceration, which I recognize may be different from others. I believe time behind bars will only make Baca more violent,” said one. “I do agree that prison time does not make people kinder or less violent,” said the other.
Baca apologized at his sentencing. “Pulling her, I didn’t realize I pulled her that hard. My sole intention was to get to my friend,” said Baca.
As prosecutors argued his actions were intentional, they asked for him to serve one year in prison. Judge Loveless did not agree with jail time. “I don’t believe incarceration under these circumstances would be fruitful or appropriate,” said Judge Loveless.
While Baca will not be going to jail, he will be on supervised probation for the next two years. He has also been ordered to take anger management and to do 250 hours of community service.