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Man pleads not guilty to shooting, robbery charges

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Bryan Dillard

A suspect in a January robbery and shooting that left one man injured has pleaded not guilty to several charges.

Court records state that when he was arraigned in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County Monday, Bryan Dillard, 26, of Roswell, entered a formal plea of not guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, deadly weapon; armed robbery; and bribery of a witness, great bodily harm.

The Office of the District Attorney for New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court refiled the charges against Dillard on Nov. 17, two months after the prosecution opted to dismiss them in connection with the Jan. 5 shooting.

Emily Fry, chief deputy district attorney for Chaves County, said in September the charges were dismissed after several witnesses failed to appear in court for a preliminary hearing.

When reached for comment about Monday’s arraignment, Fry did not specify why the District Attorney’s Office opted to refile the charges.

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“We are hopeful we can proceed on it,” she said.

Frank Patterson, Dillard’s attorney, could not be reached about the case by press time Wednesday.

A second suspect charged in the case — 43-year-old Lorena Beltran of Roswell — faces one count each of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon; conspiracy to commit aggravated battery with a deadly weapon; and retaliation against a witness, retaliation-bodily harm. Beltran is now being held in pretrial detention pending her trial, which is scheduled for Feb. 1.

Court records state investigators believe Dillard and Beltran allegedly committed the robbery and shooting as an act of retaliation against a man for cooperating with police in another investigation involving a shooting in which Dillard faces charges.

According to court documents and testimony at previous hearings, Beltran and Dillard reportedly picked the man up on the night of Jan. 5 and drove him to a West Tilden Street residence, where they met up with two women.

Dillard then allegedly robbed the man at gunpoint of $1,000 before Beltran reportedly shot him in the chest. The man then managed to escape from the house, running to an East Second Street convenience store, where police were called.

After being treated for his wound, court filings indicate the man identified Beltran as the shooter and confirmed Dillard’s alleged involvement.

When questioned by police, Dillard denied being with the man or Beltran the night of the shooting or that he would do anything to hurt the man.

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

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