“Hard to imagine a more dangerous person”
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking to keep in custody a homeless man suspected of stabbing 11 people in hours while biking around Albuquerque on Sunday, saying no conditions of release could reasonably ensure the safety of the community.
Tobias Gutierrez, who has a long criminal history, appeared in court almost Tuesday for aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon.
A public safety assessment tool used by judges in New Mexico’s largest city to determine whether a defendant can be released pending trial under certain conditions recommends that Gutierrez be released based on factors such as his age , his background and pending charges.
Prosecutors argued otherwise in a motion for remand.
“It is difficult to imagine a more dangerous person injuring more people than the accused,” the motion reads. “With so many victims and no clear cause or reason, it is clear that the defendant is an extremely violent and dangerous person. The only way to protect our community is to keep the defendant in custody until this case is resolved. resolved at trial.
A state district judge will consider the motion at an upcoming hearing.
While Gutierrez was represented by a public defender on Tuesday, an attorney who could speak on his behalf has yet to be named.
The case comes as legislative efforts to overhaul the beleaguered state’s bail program have all but stalled despite strong momentum of change in January when the session started. This was fueled in part by the fact that Albuquerque marked a year of record homicides and growing frustration among families who had lost loved ones to violent crimes.
Lauren Rodriguez, spokeswoman for District Attorney Raúl Torrez, said the Gutierrez case marked the second time in a week that the court’s public safety assessment framework recommended the release of what prosecutors consider a dangerous person.
“Apparently even facing charges of stabbing 11 different people in broad daylight is not enough to keep someone behind bars using this instrument,” she said. “Unfortunately, while 77% of the public want the revolving door closed on these types of violent offenders, the legislature has once again failed to address the problem or even acknowledge the problem.”
Despite the assessment’s recommendations, she said she hoped judges would use their discretion when considering detention requests.
Sunday’s stabbings appeared to have been random in a few hours along Central Avenue, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. One of the crime scenes included a homeless encampment and another was near a smoking room where the suspect demanded money from a victim and shouted obscenities before brandishing a knife, a complaint claims criminal.
Witnesses identified a man on a bicycle armed with a large knife. Some described the man as acting strangely and said he seemed upset.
New Mexico court records show that Gutierrez’s criminal history included felonies ranging from burglary, battery, possession of a controlled substance, and drunk driving. In 2014, he was sentenced to federal prison after he attempted to take a gun and ammunition from a tribal casino and sparked a police chase.