ALBOOKER, NM – The prosecutor’s office is trying to detain a homeless man suspected of stabbing 11 people in a matter of hours while riding a bicycle in Albuquerque on Sunday, saying that no conditions of release can reasonably ensure the safety of society.
On Tuesday, Tobias Gutierrez, who has a long criminal history, appeared in court on charges of using deadly weapons under aggravating circumstances.
The Public Safety Assessment Tool, used by judges in New Mexico’s largest city to determine whether a defendant can be released on trial under certain conditions, recommends releasing Gutierrez based on factors including his age, previous history and current charges.
The prosecutor’s office claimed otherwise in its request for detention.
“It is difficult to imagine a more dangerous person who harmed more people than the defendant,” the petition said. “With so many victims and without clear motives and reasons, it is obvious that the defendant is an extremely cruel and dangerous person. The only way to protect our community is to keep the defendant in custody until the issue is resolved in court. “
The state district judge will consider the petition at the next hearing.
While Gutierrez was presented to state attorneys on Tuesday, a lawyer who could speak on his behalf has not yet been appointed.
The case comes at a time when legislative efforts to restructure the problematic pre-trial release program have almost stopped, despite a strong impetus for change in January when the session began. This was partly due to the fact that Albuquerque marked a year of record-breaking murders and growing frustration in families who have lost loved ones as a result of violent crimes.
Lauren Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Raul Torres, said the Gutierrez case was the second in a week when the court’s public safety assessment system recommended the release of a person the prosecutor’s office considered dangerous.
“Apparently, even accusing 11 different people of stab wounds in broad daylight is not enough to keep someone behind bars with this tool,” she said. “Unfortunately, while 77% of the public want the door closed behind such violent offenders, the legislature has again failed to address the problem or even acknowledge the problem.”
Despite the evaluation’s recommendations, she said she hoped judges would use their views when considering requests for detention.
The stabbing on Sunday was done randomly for several hours along Central Avenue, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. According to the criminal case, there was a homeless camp at one of the crime scenes, and at another – near a smoking shop, where the suspect asked the victim for money and shouted obscenely before brandishing a knife.
Witnesses identified the man on a bicycle armed with a large knife. Some described the man behaving strangely and said he was upset.
New Mexico court records show that Gutierrez’s criminal history included felonies ranging from burglary to beatings, possession of a controlled substance and driving while intoxicated. In 2014, he was sentenced to federal jail after trying to bring a revolver and ammunition to a tribal casino and sparked a police chase.
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