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Former deputy DA sentenced on DWI charge

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A former prosecutor in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District was sentenced Wednesday to a suspended prison term and supervised probation on a drunk driving charge.

Jonathan Michael Thomas

Judge Fred Van Soelen of New Mexico’s 9th Judicial District sentenced Jonathan Michael Thomas, 36, of Roswell to 90 days imprisonment, with all but two days suspended, according to court documents.

Thomas received credit for time served on the remaining two days of the prison sentence, but also must complete 364 days of supervised probation.

The sentence was recommended by the state and agreed to by the defense as part of a plea and disposition agreement. Thomas changed his initial plea of not guilty to no contest on one count of aggravated driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, refused testing, court documents state.

In exchange for changing his plea on the aggravated driving while under the influence charge, a second charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon was dismissed.

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When reached Thursday, Doug Jones Witt, Thomas’ attorney, declined to comment further about his client or the case.

“At this time we’re not going to make any statements to the press regarding anything other than what’s public record,” he said.

Dianna Luce, District Attorney for the 5th Judicial District, where Thomas was chief deputy district attorney for Lea County, also declined to comment on the case.

Thomas had resigned from his position with the District Attorney’s Office soon after his Feb. 28 arrest.

Thomas was arrested by Chaves County deputies at a rest stop on U.S. Highway 380 east after a motorist reported seeing a vehicle driving recklessly by crossing over lines and driving into oncoming traffic, before the vehicle pulled over at a rest stop near mile marker 190.

When deputies arrived at the traffic stop, court documents state, they encountered Thomas, who had bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and was in the driver’s seat of a vehicle that reeked of alcohol.

Thomas also told deputies he had a semi-automatic handgun at his waist.

According to court documents, deputies took the firearm and later found it was chambered but did not have ammunition in its magazine.

Thomas, when taken into custody, refused to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test or answer questions from deputies.

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