Albuquerque man accused of killing his launched spouse
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A man accused of killing his wife earlier this year is now back on the streets, all over a court formality. How could that happen when he’s still charged with murder?
Jerome Gutierrez was released late last week. Now the defense, prosecutors and courts are all pointing fingers for making the mistake.
“In this case, that hearing was scheduled for June,” said James Grayson, assistant district attorney for Bernalillo County. “The state was ready to continue this hearing, but the defense attorney was not ready to continue and asked for a continuation.”
Gutierrez, 54, is accused of beating his wife, Kristy Rivera, so badly that she was brain dead. She was later withdrawn from life support. In June, his defense lawyers requested that the hearing be postponed until the coroner learned the details of the victim, but a hearing was never scheduled within 60 days, denying his right to an early hearing.
“The state applied for hiring and received one last week,” Grayson said. “The judge dismissed the defendant because the hearing had not taken place within 60 days.”
Why this hearing didn’t happen within 60 days is where the confusion comes in. On June 9, Judge Cindy Leos ordered the detention hearing to continue, stating, “The parties must set the court a date for the hearing.” However, days later, on June 14, another judge, Britt Baca-Miller, ordered to: “The court will postpone the prison hearing to a later date.”
Thinking the other was going to set a court date, neither the prosecutor nor the suspect’s lawyers nor a judge did – missed the deadline. Judge Leos ordered his release on Friday.
“That could endanger the public. This defendant is charged with second degree murder, ”Grayson said. “The state applied because we determined it was dangerous to the community.”
The release order states that Gutierrez was not at fault for the release and that the release was an attempt to “fix” the situation. Currently released on a GPS ankle monitor, he could end up behind bars again at a future hearing. However, the waiting time is too long, says the prosecutor.
“This is how the hearing is protecting the public,” said Grayson. “It’s a problem when someone gets fired without a hearing.”
Gutierrez’s next hearing is scheduled for October 14th. However, prosecutors say they plan to file an urgent decision with the New Mexico Supreme Court so that he can be put behind bars by then. In the meantime, he was ordered not to have any contact with his young daughter or other family members while he was released.