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Democrats Eye Scrapping NM Film Spending Cap, Court Reduces Hobbs Man's Murder Conviction

Jan 24, 2018

Democrats Eye Scrapping New Mexico's $50M Film Spending CapThe Associated Press

Democratic state lawmakers want to eliminate New Mexico's annual $50 million cap on film incentive spending but the future of the proposal is unclear.

A bill eliminating the cap is moving through the New Mexico House and comes after state officials reported the film and television industry contributed more than a half-billion dollars to New Mexico's economy in 2016.

Rep. Bill McCamley, a Las Cruces Democrat, says there was a direct correlation between the money the state spent on incentives and the return it got.

But Rep. Rebecca Dow, a Truth or Consequences Republican, says she sees the tax credit as going to some of the wealthiest people in the world.

Data from the New Mexico Film Office show film and television productions contributed $505 million to the state's economy in 2016. That included 61 major productions.

Court Reduces Hobbs Man's Murder Conviction To Second-DegreeThe Associated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court has reduced a Hobbs man's first-degree murder conviction to second-degree murder in a 2014 shooting, saying there was evidence that the killing was intentional but not that it was done with deliberate intent.

Thursday's ruling says Enrique Carmona's killing of 28-year-old Jose Meza after an argument and fistfight involving several men appeared to be impulsive, occurred in a very short period of time and wasn't planned.

The prosecution contended the killing was deliberate because Carmona removed a gun from his pocket, switched it to another hand, cocked the gun, put it near Meza's head and pulled the trigger.

Carmona had been sentenced to life in prison — or 30 years before being eligible for parole — on the first-degree murder charge. Prosecutors say the lesser charge of second-degree murder carries a 15-year sentence.

Undersheriff Suspended After Substantiated Harassment ChargeThe Associated Press

The undersheriff of a southern New Mexico county has been temporarily stripped of his supervisory responsibilities and suspended without pay for 10 days following a substantiated charge of sexual harassment.

Dona Ana County Sheriff Enrique Vigil on Thursday issued disciplinary action against Ken Roberts after an investigator sustained one of the two complaints against the undersheriff.

The sheriff's disciplinary letter says Roberts entered into the office of an employee in June, closed the door and sat on the woman's lap. The letter says he then shook his buttocks and told her that he "always wanted to try this."

According to Vigil's letter, Roberts told the investigator that he did not remember the encounter, but he also said the employee would not have a reason to lie.

Police: Man Pawned Stolen 'Miss Indian America' CrownThe Associated Press

An Albuquerque man is facing charges after police say he and his girlfriend pawned a stolen crown from a Miss Indian America pageant winner.

Court records show that Isaac Wright was arrested this week in connection with the theft and another burglary.

According to a criminal complaint, Winona Buckner noticed her stolen 1969 crown on eBay and contacted police.

Officers found the listing connected to a pawn shop whose workers helped lead police to the 40-year-old Wright. He is facing charges of conspiracy and receiving stolen property

The crown was valued at about $20,000.

No attorney was listed for Wright.

Man Charged In Plot To Kill State Officials Pleads GuiltyThe Associated Press

An Albuquerque man charged in a thwarted plot to kill two top New Mexico corrections officials has pleaded guilty after reaching an agreement with federal prosecutors.

The Albuquerque Journal reports 42-year-old Christopher Garcia on Thursday entered guilty pleas in a Las Cruces federal courtroom to violent crimes in aid of racketeering conspiracy to murder, felon in possession of a firearm and racketeering conspiracy.

Garcia is expected to be sentenced to 30 years in federal prison under the agreement.

The agreement says Garcia is a member of the Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico prison gang, and he provided a gun that was to be used in the 2015 plot to kill then-Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel and another official.

Court documents say he also planned to have the assassin killed after Marcantel's death.

New Mexico Lawmakers Consider Reviving Solar Tax Credit- The Associated Press

A panel of New Mexico state lawmakers is endorsing the reinstatement of state tax credits toward the purchase of rooftop solar energy systems.

A Senate committee on Thursday recommended approval of a 10 percent tax credit against the cost of solar energy systems for homeowners, small businesses and farms. Credits would be capped at $9,000 per business and $4,000 per residence.

Democratic state Sen. Mimi Stewart is sponsoring the bill. New Mexico's previous solar tax credit system expired in 2016. The new credit would gradually decline from 10 percent of costs to 6 percent over a 15-year period.

A separate proposal to provide a tax credit for energy storage systems at homes or businesses has been put on hold and is unlikely to advance this year.

New Mexico Governor Says Senate Shirks Confirmation Duties- The Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is protesting delays in the confirmation process for her political appointees by vetoing funding for a Senate confirmation committee.

The second-term Republican governor crossed out funding of the Senate rules committee as she signed a bill Thursday that provides $21 million for legislative operations. The so-called feed bill funds the ongoing 30-day legislative session, legislative agencies and year-round committees.

Martinez said the rules committee has shirked its constitutional responsibility to hear nominations and left a backlog of 85 unconfirmed positions in state government. She accused Senate Democrats of delaying confirmations for purely partisan reasons.

Democratic Senate rules committee Chairwoman Linda Lopez could not be reached for comment. Lopez recently urged the designated secretary of public education to resign.

Martinez cannot run for re-election in November.

New Mexico Lawmakers Weigh Reforms Of Guardianship System- The Associated Press

A measure aimed at overhauling New Mexico's guardianship laws cleared its first legislative hurdle Thursday, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were in resounding agreement that a system meant to protect some of the state's most vulnerable residents was in need of serious improvement.

The Senate Public Affairs Committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill, while acknowledging that the issue was complex and the legislation would still need more work before the rest of the chamber could consider it.

The committee also voiced concerns about funding for what some have described as a major paradigm shift.

The system was thrust into the spotlight following a series of investigative articles published last year by the Albuquerque Journal that raised questions about the lack of oversight and transparency.

The New Mexico Supreme Court followed up with the creation of a commission that was charged with studying the system. That panel has since made numerous recommendations, some of which have been incorporated into the bill.

The push for change also has been bolstered by recent federal criminal cases in which executives from two nonprofit firms that handled guardianship and conservatorship duties in New Mexico allegedly embezzled millions of dollars of client funds.

Democrats Eye Scrapping New Mexico's $50M Film Spending Cap- The Associated Press

Democratic state lawmakers want to eliminate New Mexico's annual $50 million cap on film incentive spending but the future of the proposal is unclear.

A bill eliminating the cap is moving through the New Mexico House and comes after state officials reported the film and television industry contributed more than a half-billion dollars to New Mexico's economy in 2016.

Rep. Bill McCamley, a Las Cruces Democrat, says there was a direct correlation between the money the state spent on incentives and the return it got.

But Rep. Rebecca Dow, a Truth or Consequences Republican, says she sees the tax credit as going to some of the wealthiest people in the world.

Data from the New Mexico Film Office show film and television productions contributed $505 million to the state's economy in 2016. That included 61 major productions.

Some New Mexico Children Knocked Off Medicaid After GlitchThe Associated Press & The ABQ Journal

Some children who were part of New Mexico's foster care system or were adopted out of it lost Medicaid coverage due to what state officials described as "several glitches."

The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department and the state Human Services Department issued a joint statement attributing the inadvertent loss of coverage for some to errors related to the implementation of a new computer system, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The state has found that at least 15 children were improperly labeled ineligible for Medicaid due to the glitches, a Human Services spokeswoman said. The two agencies are looking into the issue.

The Children, Youth and Families Department will send 4,000 letters this week to foster and adoptive families to alert them to the issue, the agency said.

For people who lost Medicaid due to the glitches, the agency said their coverage will be restored and applied retroactively after the issue is fixed.

At least some of the problems that caused the lapsed coverage were linked to the state's Automated System and Program Eligibility Network, the agency said.

New Mexico State Income Rises On Energy ReboundThe Associated Press

Lawmakers have more money to work with as they craft a spending plan for the coming fiscal year that aims to boost spending on education, courts and law enforcement.

Economists for the state on Thursday revised tax revenue estimates upward by $93 million for the fiscal year starting July 1.

In all, government income is expected to surpass current annual spending obligations by $292 million.

New Mexico is climbing out of fiscal crisis that last year prompted spending cuts at public universities and to cherished programs such as the Special Olympics and local-farm produce at schools.

Staff economists for the Legislature say the fiscal rebound is closely tied to a recovery in the oil and natural gas industry.

Estimated income for the current year also has been revised upward.

Budget Rebound May Restore Locally Grown School FoodThe Associated Press

New Mexico lawmakers are taking steps to revive funding for public schools to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables from local farms.

Republican Rep. Jimmie Hall of Albuquerque said Thursday that $400,000 is likely to be included in this year's House appropriations bill for the farm-to-school program. Spending was cut off last year as New Mexico struggled to fill a budget gap amid a downturn in the oil sector.

Public school districts across the state, from Taos to Deming, have relied for nearly a decade on earmarked state funding to purchase produce directly from local farmers.

Republican Rep. and livestock rancher Candy Spence Ezzell of Roswell wants the state to add locally raised meat and dairy products to the effort. She walked out on a committee vote Thursday that recommended refunding.

New Mexico County Officials Approve Liquor Sale RestrictionThe Associated Press & The Gallup Independent

A northwestern New Mexico county has passed a resolution that will ban liquor sales before 10 a.m.

The Gallup Independent reports the McKinley County Board of Commissioners passed the early liquor sales restriction in a 2-1 vote on Tuesday.

County Attorney Doug Decker says prior to the resolution, an alcohol dispenser or retailer could sell packaged liquor at 7 a.m.

With the new resolution, stores within the county will have to wait until 10 a.m. to begin selling liquor.

Commissioner Bill Lee told the paper on Tuesday that he did not vote for the ordinance because he believes it will not fix alcoholism in the community, and may lead to business opportunities for bootleggers.

Small NM School District Closes Because Of Illness Among StaffThe Associated Press

A small eastern New Mexico school district is closed due to illness among its staff.

Interim Superintendent Brandon Hays of Dora Consolidated Schools says schools are closed until Monday because illness among regular staff members and substitutes means the district can't adequate cover its classrooms.

Hays says district employees planned to thoroughly sanitize the district's facilities Thursday to reduce the spread of germs.

A letter sent by Hays to parents asks that kids be kept home if they have vomited overnight or in the morning before school and until they've been fever free for 24 hours without the help of medication.

The district has approximately 200 students.

Dora is 202 miles (325 kilometers) southeast of Albuquerque.

Man Accused In 2005 Shooting Rampage Deemed IncompetentThe Associated Press

The New Mexico man accused of killing two police officers and three others during a 2005 shooting rampage remains incompetent to stand trial.

State District Judge Benjamin Chavez in an order filed Wednesday said he and attorneys reviewed John Hyde's mental health evaluations and determined he's still incompetent and poses a danger to the community.

A diagnosed schizophrenic, Hyde will be evaluated again in 2020. Until then, he will continue serving a 179-year commitment in a secure facility.

That commitment was ordered in 2007 following court proceedings that centered on whether Hyde remained a danger and whether there was enough evidence to convict him of the August 2005 crimes.

Hyde is accused of killing transportation worker Ben Lopez, motorcycle shop employees Garret Iverson and David Fisher and Albuquerque police officers Michael King and Richard Smith.

New Mexico Considers Lower Penalties For Pot Possession- The Associated Press

A New Mexico state senator who is running for governor has proposed replacing criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana with a $50 fine.

Democratic Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces introduced a bill that would provide a purely monetary penalty for low-level marijuana violations. The Senate approved a similar bill last year that never received a vote in the House. The changes would free up resources for courts, prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Three Democratic candidates for governor have voiced support for legalizing recreational marijuana, while GOP candidate and Congressman Steve Pearce stands opposed. New Mexico regulates the use of cannabis for a long list of medical conditions.

Outgoing GOP Gov. Susana Martinez has been a firm opponent of legalizing recreational marijuana.

DOJ: Bernalillo County Must Hand Over Immigration DataThe Associated Press

The U.S. Justice Department is including New Mexico's most populous county in an effort to pressure cities to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Bernalillo County was one of roughly two dozen jurisdictions to receive warning letters Wednesday from the Justice Department. Federal officials are threatening to issue subpoenas to jurisdictions that aren't relinquishing documents showing they aren't withholding information about the immigration status of people in custody.

The department has repeatedly threatened to deny millions of dollars in important grant money from communities that refuse to share such information with federal authorities.

Bernalillo County spokeswoman Tiffany Chamblee did not immediately respond to an email.

Gabriela Hernandez, executive director of New Mexico Dream Team, says the letters are aimed at terrorizing immigrant communities across the country.

Decades-Old New Mexico Case Spurs Questions About OversightThe Associated Press

It will be up to a federal judge to determine whether New Mexico is doing enough to meet obligations spelled out as part of a decades-long legal battle over the institutionalization of people with developmental disabilities.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the case back to district court to determine whether the state is complying with federal law.

It also will be up to the lower court to determine whether changes implemented over the years will last and if federal oversight is still necessary.

The case stems from a class-action lawsuit filed 30 years ago that alleged civil rights violations on behalf of developmentally disabled residents at two state-supported institutions.

Court records show the state has spent more than $50 million related to the litigation in the last decade.

New Mexico Adopts National Arts Standards For K-12 Education- The Associated Press & The Santa Fe New Mexican

New Mexico's top education official said the state plans to emphasize a need to teach and support the arts by adopting new statewide K-12 education standards on the arts.

State Public Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski announced Tuesday that the state has adopted the National Core Arts Standards, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

The new standards, which will take effect in July, will give public school students the chance to study at least one of the following disciplines: dance, music, theater, visual arts and media. The change also allows teachers to weave elements of the arts into other core classes like math, reading and social studies. The state's adoption of the guidelines comes after discussions with arts educators from across New Mexico, Ruszkowski said

"Everything that we are doing is based upon what we are hearing in the field," Ruszkowski said during an event at New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe.

AP Interview: Richardson Resigns From Rohingya Refugee Panel- The Associated Press

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has resigned from an advisory panel on the massive Rohingya refugee crisis, calling it a "whitewash and a cheerleading operation" for Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The sudden resignation Wednesday of probably the panel's most prominent member, a former senior U.S. politician and diplomat who considered Suu Kyi a close friend, raises serious questions about international efforts to deal with the calamitous fallout of Myanmar military operations since August against the Rohingya Muslims that the United Nations has called "textbook ethnic cleansing."

It also offers possible insight into the thinking of Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate once revered as an icon of human rights whose leadership during the Rohingya crisis has shocked many outsiders.

Navajo Lawmakers OK Appointment Of Tribal Chief Justice- The Associated Press

The chief appellate judge for the Crow Nation has been confirmed as chief justice of the Navajo Nation's highest court.

JoAnn "Joey" Jayne's appointment to the position in July had been subject to approval by the Navajo Nation Council.

Tribal lawmakers voted in favor Wednesday, and Jayne immediately was sworn in.

She's the first chief justice hired under a change that requires a law degree for the job. She joins Associate Justice Eleanor Shirley on the bench. The third position on the Navajo Nation Supreme Court is vacant.

Jayne will be in probationary status for two years. Tribal lawmakers then would decide whether to give her a lifetime appointment.

The tribe hasn't had a permanent chief justice since Herb Yazzie retired in 2015 after a decade on the bench.

Utility Completes $24M Transmission Project In New Mexico- The Associated Press

Xcel Energy says it has completed a $24 million transmission project that will boost the capacity and reliability of the system that powers one eastern New Mexico city.

Utility officials say the Roswell project is part of a larger, region-wide effort to expand and modernize Xcel's grid, which serves nearly 100 communities in eastern New Mexico and West Texas.

Crews closed the final segment last week of a nearly 24-mile transmission loop that feeds the city's electric substations.

Since 2011, Xcel Energy has invested in more than 800 miles of new transmission lines and nearly a dozen substations across its service area in the two states. More than 500 miles of additional line will be completed by 2021.

Officials say the transmission expansion represents more than $1.6 billion in investment.

FAA Seeks Comment On Proposed Military Training ExerciseThe Associated Press & The Deming Headlight

The Federal Aviation Administration is taking public comment on a proposed military training operation in southwest New Mexico involving the Marine Corps.

The Deming Headlight reports the FAA's Air Traffic Organization posted a public notice proposing airspace in Hidalgo County to be used in a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force certification exercise planned to take place over a five-hour period in late August.

According to the notice, the pre-deployment training would involve a variety of aircraft to simulate Rescue Escort and Close Air Support missions.

The notice says the operation would not involve employing weapons, flares or aerial refueling.

The operation is similar to a proposal executed last August.

Prosecutor: Judge Failed To Review Key FactorsThe Associated Press

A state prosecutor is arguing that a judge failed to review several key factors in deciding to sentence a New Mexico teenager as a juvenile in the killings of five family members.

John Woykovsky with the New Mexico Attorney General's Office delivered arguments Wednesday before the state Court of Appeals. He described Nehemiah Griego's sentence as invalid.

Griego was 15 when he killed his parents and three younger siblings in 2013. He's now 20.

A 2016 ruling from a Children's Court judge cleared him for release on March 20 when he turns 21. The decision found Griego had shown he was receptive to treatment and could be sentenced as a juvenile.

The defense says the Children's Court judge had noted the crime's severity, with a reference to testimony calling it horrific.

Family Sues Albuquerque Police Over Death Of Six-Year-OldAlbuquerque Journal

A family is suing the Albuquerque Police Department and an officer whose car slammed into theirs in April 2017, killing their six-year-old son.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Antoinette Suina was turning left when Officer Johnathan McDonnell, who was traveling at nearly 80 mph enroute to a call for help, hit her car.

Suina’s son, Joel Anthony Mumaw, died at a hospital and his 9-year-old sister was severely injured.

The suit accuses McDonnell of negligence and claims the city ignored his patterns of traffic violations. He was disciplined for at least six driving-related incidents over nine years at APD. The Journal reports he’s still employed by the department.

Rachel Higgins, one of the attorneys representing Suina’s family, said they want the lawsuit to prompt changes at APD. The suit cited data from APD that showed of 304 crashes in 2016, nearly half were the fault of the department and 125 were preventable.

APD officials declined to comment on the suit. 

Secretary Of State  Says Lawmakers' 'Donate' Buttons LegalAssociated Press

New Mexico state lawmakers aren't supposed to raise money or campaign while they are in Legislative Session.

But the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office said this week nothing in the state's campaign finance laws prevents them from having a "donate" button on their campaign websites.

New Mexico Secretary of State spokesman Joey Keefe says the state law doesn't bar state lawmakers from having the "donate" button where supporters can actively give money to a campaign. But he says those lawmakers can't send out emails asking people to visit their websites to donate.

Keefe says Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver encourages state lawmakers to remove the donate buttons as a "best practice."

A number of state lawmakers are running for other offices.

Decades-Old New Mexico Case Spurs Questions About Oversight - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

It will be up to a federal judge to determine whether New Mexico is doing enough to meet obligations spelled out as part of a costly decades-long legal battle over the institutionalization of people with developmental disabilities.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal on Tuesday ordered the case back to district court to determine whether the state is complying with federal law.

The appeals court said it also will be up to the lower court to determine whether changes implemented over the years will last and if federal oversight can end.

The case stems from a class-action lawsuit filed 30 years ago that alleged civil rights violations on behalf of developmentally disabled residents at two state-supported institutions.

Court records show the state has spent more than $50 million related to the litigation in the last decade.

New Mexico's Jobless Rate Fell To 6 Percent Last MonthAssociated Press

New Mexico's unemployment rate fell to 6 percent in December, down from two consecutive months of 6.1 percent.

The state jobless rate was at 6.7 percent in December 2016.

It's still higher than the national unemployment of 4.1 percent. But labor officials say New Mexico for the 13th consecutive month recorded aggregate gains in the private sector that resulted in 10,800 jobs, or 1.3 percent growth.

The latest figures released by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions show private service industries reported an additional 9,300 jobs while goods-producing industries grew by 2,200 jobs.

Construction and the leisure and hospitality industries both were up by 3,100 jobs.

The mining industry saw 700 jobs lost since December 2016. Local, state and federal government jobs also have dropped over the past year.

Students Give Mixed Reviews For Sexual Misconduct TrainingAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The University of New Mexico's sexual misconduct prevention training has garnered mixed reviews from students, but a majority says it has had some benefit.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the university's status report to the U.S. Department of Justice shows more than 75 percent of students say they better understood sexual assault and Title IX after taking "The Grey Area" course.

A similar number of students reported they had more confidence in recognizing sexual behavior that violates university policy and felt more confident in reporting that behavior.

According to the report, about 60 percent of students say the course topics were relevant.

The university's report represents opinions from more than 5,000 students who responded to a questionnaire after the training, which was required under an agreement with the Justice Department.

New Mexico Utility Outlines Rate Increase For CustomersAssociated Press

Residential customers of New Mexico's largest electric provider can expect to see an average increase of about 46 cents on their monthly bill beginning next month.

Public Service Co. of New Mexico calculated the increase as part of a compliance filing made Tuesday with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.

The filing marks one of the final steps in a contentious rate case that began last year. Regulators last week ended up adopting a revamped version of an agreement that was initially negotiated by the utility, the attorney general's office, consumer groups and others.

Aside from the 2018 increase, residential customers can expect an additional monthly increase of about 42 cents in 2019.

With the increase, the utility can recover costs associated with grid improvements, the partial closure of the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station and other changes.

Applicants Sought For Federal Judgeships In New MexicoAssociated Press

New Mexico will have two federal court vacancies this year and members of the state's congressional delegation are looking for applicants they can recommend.

U.S. District Judge Robert Brack will retire in July after 15 years on the federal bench. This will create a vacancy in Las Cruces.

In February, there will be a vacancy in Albuquerque with the retirement of Judge Christina Armijo. She has served on the federal bench for 16 years, including more than five years as chief judge.

In accordance with their constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent regarding federal appointments, Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich with the help of Congressman Steve Pearce will recommend to the president a short list of qualified candidates for each position.

The application deadline is Feb. 23.

Hearing Set In Appeal Of Sentence For Teen Who Killed 5Associated Press

The New Mexico Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments in the case of a man who pleaded guilty to shooting and killing five family members when he was a teenager.

The oral arguments scheduled for Wednesday in Albuquerque come nearly two years after a state children's court judge decided Nehemiah Griego had been receptive to psychological treatment while in state custody and could be sentenced as a juvenile. That decision cleared the way for Griego's release on his 21st birthday in March.

Griego was 15 when authorities say he killed his parents and three younger siblings at the family's home south of Albuquerque.

Attorney General Hector Balderas' appeal of that decision asks that the case be sent back to Children's Court for more hearings.

National Effort To Regulate Dark Money Starts In New MexicoAssociated Press

New Mexico may take part in a fledgling effort to limit and regulate the role of money in politics by amending the U.S. Constitution.

State lawmakers are considering a pledge to help Congress ratify constitutional changes to regulate money that is spent to influence elections and governance. The proposed memorial also pledges support for amendments to end partisan gerrymandering.

Heather Ferguson of the watchdog group Common Cause said Tuesday that the initiative is being introduced this year in a handful of states that include Alabama and New Hampshire.

She says New Mexico and at least 19 other states previously asked Congress to overturn Supreme Court actions that cleared the way for unlimited independent expenditures in elections.

She says the new initiative provides a streamlined template for legislatures and Congress to follow.

New Mexico Sheriff Feared Loader's Driver Might Hit OthersAssociated Press

Authorities say an eastern New Mexico sheriff shot a Portales man driving a front-end loader because the man was driving erratically and the sheriff feared he would strike other drivers or bystanders.

The New Mexico State Police says 48-year-old James Wallace McFarlin had used the loader to try to flip over an SUV and crashed through fences before Roosevelt County Sheriff Malin Parker wounded him Jan. 15.

The NMSP says Parker reported that McFarlin almost struck a motorist during a pursuit and that Parker tried unsuccessfully to shoot out the loader's tires before he shot McFarlin through the loader's read window.

McFarlin remains hospitalized in Lubbock, Texas. Online court records don't list an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

No information was released on a possible motive.

Golfer Notah Begay Helping Fix Vandalized School PlaygroundAssociated Press

Retired PGA tour golfer Notah Begay III is raising money to help fix a vandalized playground at an Albuquerque elementary school.

Begay this week asked his Twitter followers to donate money to help repair Osuna Elementary's playground after police said suspected vandals torched it earlier this month.

The Albuquerque resident and his Team NB3 Foundation also are competing in the 200 mile 2018 Ragnar Del Sol Relay in Mesa, Arizona, to raise funding of the children's playground and programs for Native American youth.

Begay, who is Native American, won 4 PGA Tour tournaments and is only the third player in the history of professional golf to shoot 59 in a professional event.

Police Say New Mexico Man Pulled Toy Gun On Man For LitteringAssociated Press

A New Mexico man is facing charges after police say he pulled a convincing toy gun on a man littering outside an Albuquerque convenience store.

Police say John Joel Robinson was arrested last week following a frantic call about a man with a gun at a Circle K.

According to a criminal complaint, the 35-year-old Robinson pulled his Glock-style handgun on a man he saw throwing trash on the ground.

Officers later discovered the weapon was a "very real looking toy gun."

Robinson was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon.

No attorney was listed for Robinson.

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