DOWN — It comes as no surprise to us that Bobby Willis, accused of cheating local investors out of millions of dollars in various scams, is doing everything possible to avoid extradition from Missouri to face trial here. Willis — even assuming his innocence, as you should — has cemented his reputation for being unreliable. A judge agreed to allow him to live in Missouri while awaiting trial, but he failed to make a required court appearance and was arrested on March 22. While in Missouri, Willis has, according to an assistant prosecuting attorney there, "nearly exhausted all motions available to him to challenge his extradition." Willis' attorney even filed a motion to dismiss the case in late May arguing that it did not appear a governor's warrant, required to begin the extradition process, would be issued. Fortunately, he is being held on a $1 million cash-only bond and the warrant has been issued. As we've said before, Willis must be returned to New Mexico to face the serious charges against him, among them multiple counts of embezzlement, fraud, securities fraud and racketeering.

 

UP — Although the Assayii Lake fire has consumed more than 13,000 acres of piñon-juniper forest land, destroyed at least five residences, threatened other structures and scattered livestock, we are thankful there has been no loss of life. Other good news on Friday included a start at containment and a weather forecast calling for another day or two with moderate winds. Firefighters from local departments and others around the region have responded to quell the blaze. And area residents have responded by donating food and supplies that can help firefighters and people evacuated from their homes. With an entrenched drought and the slow buildup of dead brush that serves as tinder — which in not-so-distant times was cleared out by regular low-intensity wildfires — this situation is likely to be repeated in the future. Nonetheless, we will count our blessings and hope for full containment in the near future.

 

DOWN — Police say two animal decapitations near Anasazi Trailer Court off of Bloomfield Highway could be related. That's because of disturbing similarities between the two incidents that include the fact that neither head has been found. The goat was found on June 1 about 10 miles northeast of the trailer park and the dog was found, less than a month before, near the owners' residence. Officials said the dog's legs were bound. An animal rights group has offered a reward of up to $8,000 for information leading to prosecution of those involved and the San Juan County Sheriff's Office is investigating the deaths as extreme animal cruelty. That fourth-degree felony carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. The fact that someone committed this kind of cruel act on a pet that was tied up is alarming, to say the least. The act shows a lack of compassion that signals mental illness. Police say they are depending on residents to come forward. We encourage anyone with relevant information to contact law enforcement authorities so the community can put this bizarre episode behind it.