A local man accused of assaulting two grocery store employees after he was allegedly spotted trying to shoplift a bottle of liquor has pleaded not guilty to three criminal counts.
Carlos Medina, 51, of Roswell, pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Monday in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court to two charges of aggravated assault, deadly weapon; and one count of shoplifting under $250.
Medina, according to documents filed in Chaves County Magistrate Court, reportedly pulled a knife on the store director and another employee while trying to conceal a $39.89 bottle of whiskey in the front of his pants.
Sara Jean Grew, deputy district attorney, said at the arraignment that she has spoken with one of the alleged victims about a possible plea deal in the matter.
Court documents state that on July 8 a man in a long coat — later identified as Medina — entered a 200 block of West Second Street grocery store where he was followed by a store employee.
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The employee allegedly saw Medina conceal a bottle of whiskey and walk to the back of the store. According to court documents, Medina went into the women’s bathroom at the back of the store.
After Medina exited the bathroom, the store director and employee both approached and asked him about the bottle. Medina reportedly responded by becoming argumentative and at first denied that he had a bottle or any store product on him. Medina eventually handed over the bottle.
Court documents state Medina was taken to the front of the store so police could be called.
When they were en route to the front of the store, court documents state, the employee saw Medina “messing with something in his waistband” and warned him not to do anything stupid.
Once they reached the front of the store, court documents state, Medina, who by that time allegedly had a knife in his hand, went at the store director with it while trying to run out the door.
The store director said he knocked Medina down. The other employee then began punching Medina until he let go of the knife, court documents state. Medina was detained until police arrived.
When later questioned, court documents state that Medina reportedly admitted to having stuck the bottle of whiskey in his pants and that he was not planning on paying for it.
He said that when he was being taken to the front of the store, he placed one hand in his pocket when he was the tackled. He said it was then that his hand came out of his pocket with the knife in it.
He denied taking the knife out of his pocket before he was tackled and said that he did not try to run out of the store or stab an employee.
According to electronic court records, Medina was released on his own recognizance in July. District Judge Dustin K. Hunter during Monday’s arraignment scheduled a status hearing in the case for Feb. 22 at 9 a.m.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301 or email@example.com.