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State alleges tampering against psychiatrist; Defense says new charges due to alleged victim’s ever-changing story

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While the felony charge of false imprisonment against a local psychiatrist was dismissed Nov. 28, the state of New Mexico is now alleging two counts of tampering with evidence in addition to the remaining battery charge against 55-year-old Steven Black.

On Wednesday, assistant district attorney Alycia Wilson filed both an amended criminal complaint and a motion to review Black’s conditions of release.

Within both documents, the assistant DA states the alleged victim, Helen Black, never actually posted the four-page statement on her personal Facebook profile Nov. 11 in response to the attention she and her family have received.

Within the four-page statement, which is now believed to be written by Steven Black, according to the state, Helen explained her husband has been overworked, working an average of 18 to 20 hours a day, often going 60 hours without sleep while practicing at the medical clinic.

Helen’s letter also made references to her apparent mood swings, relationship issues and other personal problems.

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In addition to Facebook, both the prosecution and defense had received a copy of the statement.

The newly filed motion further alleges Steven Black, who had been ordered to have limited contact with his wife if it regarded their children, per the order of Chaves County Magistrate Judge K.C. Rogers, had violated the contact order by communicating with Helen Black through the means of a burner phone he had given her.

“Some of this contact has been directed at manipulating the victim into feeling guilty and afraid so that she would not cooperate with this prosecution,” the motion stated.

The DA’s office also said the phone in question is currently undergoing forensic evaluation.

John Sugg, 12th District Attorney of Alamogordo, who was appointed as a special prosecutor to the case Nov. 6, was having a meeting regarding the case when the Daily Record contacted him Thursday.

While Sugg said he would not be able to immediately comment on the case, he may be able to provide further information a week from Thursday or once the office had completed its investigation.

Defense attorney Michael Gomez Jr., of Roswell, said he intends to defend Steven Black from the two petty misdemeanor counts of tampering with evidence as well as the original battery charge from the late October incident.

“The way we understand the circumstances is, Helen Black has basically changed her story now for the third time, and the DA is basically running with their version of what she’s saying now,” Gomez said. “I think that’s the basis for the charges.”

According to the DA’s motion, Helen Black came in person to their office Jan. 3, and told prosecutors she and Shawna Wheat had honestly communicated with police at the time of the Oct. 27 incident.

During her appearance, the motion states Helen Black indicated to the DA she is afraid for herself and her children’s safety and will seek both a restraining order and divorce with Steven Black.

Gomez said the new charges have been based solely on Helen Black coming forward to prosecutors.

“I don’t know what to say other than, I guess, if they want to believe somebody (who) changes their story for the third time — that’s their decision,” Gomez said.

The defense attorney said the attribution of Helen’s letter has posed a concern.

“It came somewhat of an issue, and the state is now basically trying to attribute that to the defendant,” Gomez said. “But, that again — is based just on just what Helen supposedly is telling them now.

“So, we intend to prove that the letters were authored by her, and those were her words, her intentions when she put those words out. That’s just an allegation that they’re trying to now say is attributable to the defendant.”

Gomez said, in contrast to the alleged victim, Steven Black has not changed his story.

“Whatever he had told the officers, his version of events has always maintained and been the same,” Gomez said. “He’s the one that’s never changed his story, or his version of things.”

The state of New Mexico v. Steven Black case was originally before Magistrate Judge K.C. Rogers, but on Dec. 27, Rogers recused himself. The case is now before Magistrate Judge E.J. Fouratt.

Steven Black has pleaded not guilty to all charges. A status hearing for Black has been set for Jan. 22 in Chaves County Court.

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.