AZTEC — The 20-year-old man accused of shooting a Farmington teenager to death pleaded not guilty and asked for his bond to be lowered during his Tuesday arraignment.

Police said Jacob Beach shot Sharolyn Keown, 18, with a hand gun at close range on Nov. 5 near a Farmington mobile-home park where Keown was living with a boyfriend. She died at the scene.

Like his preliminary hearing in magistrate court last month, emotions ran high among family on both sides of the aisle during Beach's district-court arraignment.

Beach's relatives said a member of the victim's family shaped his hand like a pistol and pointed at Beach and his mother and sisters while he was leaving the courtroom after the hearing.

Cosme Ripol, Beach's attorney, said the Beaches were going to report the threat to the sheriff's office.

"He was making bang-bang motions against Jacob Beach and his family," Ripol said. "This is the second time they've told me this. All the family (members) are potential witnesses at trial and when someone threatens to blow their head off that could possibly be an intimidation of a witness charge which is a fourth-degree felony. So it could potentially be quite serious."

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office declined to comment on whether the Beaches reported any threats to the office on Tuesday.

Beach is being held at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on a $500,000 cash-only bond.


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Beach was originally charged with an open-count of murder but charges were amended to second-degree murder during his preliminary hearing in December. The change in charges means Beach went from facing a possible life sentence to a maximum sentence of 15 years if convicted.

Ripol asked District Judge William Birdsall to lower Beach's bond to a figure typical of a second-degree felony, which he said would be about $100,000 cash or surety. That would mean Beach would have to post $10,000 through a bail bondsman to be released pending his trial.

The District Attorneys Office opposes lowering Beach's bond, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien. The nature of the charges against him and the chance he may not return for a court date are reasons not to grant the request, he said.

"My client's not going anywhere," Ripol said.

Birdsall set a hearing in two weeks to argue the change in Beach's bond. He said Keown's family would get a chance to speak before he makes a decision.

"They still have the right to give input in that regard," he said.

Ripol also said during Tuesday's hearing that he will soon file a motion for Beach to have an X-Ray done on his nose.

O'Brien said the X-Ray may be used by the defense to argue self defense because Beach has said he was punched in the face the night Keown died.

"I'll reserve comment on why I want it done, but it is germane to the defense and at trial we'll discover why," Ripol said.

The alleged shooting gesture was not the only courtroom drama in the case.

During Beach's preliminary hearing in magistrate court in December, Robert Hockman, Beach's brother, was found in contempt of court and sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Hockman told Beach to "keep his head up" after the hearing and Magistrate Judge Stanley King told Hockman not to speak to the prisoner.

Then Hockman allegedly called the judge a fool twice before King found him in contempt of court.

Hockman appealed his two-month sentence to the district court and during a hearing last Tuesday, District Judge Karen Townsend ruled that Hockman could be released from jail until his Feb. 1 trial to determine whether he has to serve the rest of the sentence.