AZTEC — The Bloomfield man accused of stabbing Brandy Robinson to death and dumping her body south of Farmington waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Thursday.
Cody Soto, 24, is charged with first-degree murder, assault with intent to commit a violent felony against a household member and two counts of tampering with evidence in connection to Robinson's death.
The 29-year-old mother-of-three's body was found on June 22 near N.M. Highway 371. She was stabbed at least 22 times, according to court documents.
Magistrate Judge Trudy Reed-Chase sent Soto's charges to district court, where he will be arraigned.
Soto was briefly brought into the courtroom during his hearing.
He wore an orange jumpsuit provided to male inmates at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center. He had the word "Brandy" in cursive tattooed on the left side of his neck and "b----es over money" tattooed on the back of his neck.
Robinson's family sat in the front row directly behind Soto and his attorney.
A victim's family will often sit behind prosecutors during court proceedings. Robinson's family chose to sit behind the defendant so Soto would see them.
"I knew if I sat there then when he came through the door he would have to look at me. ... I'll be here every time he comes to court so he can see me and know that I'm there," said Brandy Robinson's father, Gary Robinson. "Every night when he goes to bed and is staring at the ceiling, I want him to see my face. I want to haunt him."
Soto was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence against Brandy Robinson on June 13. He allegedly body slammed her onto cement at the residence where the couple was living near Bloomfield. Soto was released from jail on June 20 and started sending messages on Facebook to Brandy Robinson, according to court documents.
San Juan County Sheriff's Office Detective Candice Montoya said previously that Soto and Brandy Robinson met the night of Soto's release, and he killed her near the area where her body was found.
Montoya said Soto made incriminating statements to investigators during interviews in July. He was arrested in July for failing to appear in court in connection to the domestic violence charge.
While in jail, Soto also allegedly confessed killing Brandy Robinson to an inmate who is cooperating with investigators, according to court documents.
Montoya said investigators found a hat Brandy Robinson was wearing the last time she was seen in the home where Soto was staying. Soto also had scratches on his wrist and hands, which could have been the result of Brandy Robinson defending herself from the stabbing, Montoya said.
Eric Morrow, Soto's attorney, said his client is maintaining his innocence and denying he made confessions to investigators or an inmate.
"Contrary to reports, he is maintaining his innocence and is saying he didn't confess anything," Morrow said.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.