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Bomb scare charge dropped against Clovis man

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A felony charge of making a bomb scare has been dropped in the case of a man accused of making several 9-1-1 calls in which he allegedly threatened to detonate explosives inside a local hospital.

Chaves County Magistrate Court Judge E.J. Fouratt ruled at an Oct. 21 preliminary examination that the court found there was no probable cause to believe Nicholas Flores-Avalos, 22, of Clovis, committed the offense.

As a result, the charge of making a bomb scare was dismissed and not bound over to the New Mexico 5th Judicial District Court.

Flores-Avalos still faces a charge of dialing 9-1-1 to report a false complaint, a petty misdemeanor. He entered a not guilty plea to the charge. Flores-Avalos, who was let out on revised conditions of release, is next scheduled to appear in Magistrate Court Dec. 4 for a pre-trial hearing, according to court documents.

The charges against Flores-Avalos originate from a Jan. 3, 2018 incident in which he was alleged to have made four 9-1-1 calls to the Pecos Valley Communications Center while housed in the Sunrise Unit in the Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, according to an affidavit filed in Magistrate Court.

On the third call, a male subject was heard stating, “I am going to blow this place up.” In the fourth and final call, a male said, “I have a bomb and will set it off in three hours,” before hanging up the phone, according to the affidavit.

An officer with the Roswell Police Department who was dispatched to the Medical Center the day the calls were made was called to the stand by the state at the preliminary examination.

He said security personnel at the Medical Center determined the call came from the hospital’s general phone line. The officer added that security camera footage from the Sunrise Unit showed a male, later identified by security personnel as Flores-Avalos, talking on a phone. The time stamp on the video showed he was on the phone at the same time the 9-1-1 calls were made.

The officer said at the examination that Flores-Avalos later admitted to making the 9-1-1 calls, and that he had heard voices in his head telling him to blow himself up.

The affidavit states that although Flores-Avalos told police he had heard voices in his head telling him to blow himself up, he also denied making a threat to blow up the hospital.

Franz Michael Von Hoffman, defense attorney at the trial, said at the examination that the prosecution did not put forth any proof that Flores-Avalos made the calls. He said the calls could have come from anywhere in the hospital.

Von Hoffman added that Flores-Avalos’ confession in the interview with police was questionable because of his state of mind due to mental health issues.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.