The suspect in a shooting last week that left one man dead will remain held without bond while awaiting trial.
At a hearing Tuesday in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County, Judge James Hudson granted a motion filed by the District Attorney’s Office to keep Tony “Nacho” Gonzales, 44, of Roswell, detained until after trial or unless otherwise ordered by the court.
Hudson cited Gonzales’ criminal history in concluding that no conditions of release could be imposed that would reasonably protect the safety of the public if Gonzales was released pending trial.
“Mr. Gonzales has shown that he will simply disregard those (conditions),” Hudson said.
Gonzales is charged with first-degree murder, willful and deliberate, in the Nov. 18 shooting death of 29-year-old Jose Diaz of Roswell.
In addition to the murder charge, court records state Gonzales is also charged in that same case with one count each of tampering with evidence; receipt, transportation or possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon; controlled substances, possession prohibited; and trafficking cannabis without a license.
Emily Fry, chief deputy district attorney for Chaves County, argued at Tuesday’s hearing that Gonzales has a lengthy criminal record and a significant history of non-compliance with conditions of release, failing to appear in court as required, illegally possessing a firearm and probation violations.
She noted that at the time of the incident, Gonzales was already out on conditions of release in a separate case on charges of drug trafficking and receipt, transportation and possession of a firearm or destructive device. Fry also expressed concerns about the safety of a witness.
Sandra Gallagher, Gonzales’ attorney, opposed the motion for pretrial detention, saying a reasonable bond should be set for Gonzales’ release. Conditions, such as an ankle monitor, GPS tracking or house arrest would allow her client to remain free while also preserving the safety of others, she said.
Hudson said even with those conditions in place, he believes Gonzales could still have an opportunity to do harm to the witness.
Detective Gino Basile, a homicide detective with the Roswell Police Department, was the lone witness called by the prosecution. The defense did not call any witnesses.
Gonzales is accused of shooting Diaz once in the abdomen while at a location in the 300 block of East Bonney Street. According to court records, a woman in an SUV dropped Diaz at Lovelace Hospital and left before police arrived. Diaz later died from his wound.
The investigation subsequently led police to the woman, who admitted to dropping Diaz off at the hospital. Basile testified at the hearing that the woman told him she was with Diaz at about 2:30 a.m., just before Diaz left a house where they were staying in hopes of getting a pipe and some pills.
A short time later, the woman heard a single gunshot, prompting her to step out of the house. Basile testified the woman said she then saw Diaz walking back up to the house and holding his stomach. She said that is when he told her he was shot.
Basile testified that the woman later told him that while en route to the hospital, Diaz told her that Gonzales had shot him.
He added that when police executed a search warrant on Gonzales’ house, a round from a 9mm Luger handgun was found in the living room. Large amounts of marijuana — and a syringe containing a substance that reportedly tested positive for fentanyl or a methamphetamine compound — were also found at the residence.
Gonzales was subsequently located and arrested at a 400 block of South Cypress Avenue residence. He was the only person at the residence at the time, Basile testified. Police also found in the back yard of the residence a patch of recently disturbed dirt, where a 9mm Luger handgun was found buried and wrapped in a trash bag.
Gallagher noted the woman was not with Diaz when he was shot and there were no known eyewitnesses to the shooting. When she questioned Basile, he admitted police did not find any traces of blood in or outside of Gonzales’ house.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.