Judge considers bond reduction in Hopi Street shooting case

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

AZTEC — A district judge said Wednesday he will consider reducing the bond of one of the two men charged in connection to the Hopi Street shooting.

Lawrence Kellywood, 28, filed a motion March 24 requesting that Chief District Judge John Dean reduce his bond from $50,000 to $35,000 or allow him to be released without a bond prior to his May 27 trial.

Kellywood's attorney, Cindy Leos, pointed out in her motion that a first-degree felony murder charge pending against Kellywood was dismissed by Dean in February 2014 and the San Juan County District Attorney's Office has withdrawn its appeal of the decision.

Leos further claimed that the evidence against Kellywood on his remaining charges is "negligible," and the defendant has a limited criminal history, according to the motion.

Kellywood motioned successfully to have his bond reduced from $65,000 to $50,000 in December, according to court records.

Deputy District Attorney Ron Brambl said at Wednesday's hearing that Leos was wrong.

"He has three prior felonies," Brambl said. "He is going to do prison time if convicted, and he is a danger to the community, Judge."

Lawrence Kellywood and co-defendant Levi Wilson were charged in July 2013 with first-degree felony murder after being accused of causing a shootout on July 27, 2013, near downtown Farmington that killed one man and injured several other people.

The charges were dismissed in February 2014 after Dean ruled that the state could not pursue a felony murder charge against the men unless police could prove that one of the two co-defendants fired the fatal bullet that killed victim Christopher Valdez.

Kellywood is still charged with attempted first-degree murder, shooting at an occupied building (causing great bodily harm or death), two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to court records.

A three-day trial is scheduled to begin May 27, though Leos also complained in a motion filed March 24 that Brambl was not providing her ready access to witnesses. She suggested at Wednesday's hearing that she may need to request that the trial be delayed if she cannot perform a thorough pretrial investigation.

Brambl told Dean the state has gone to "extraordinary lengths" to ensure that Leos has access to evidence and the attorneys are expected to meet today and Friday to interview witnesses.

Dean ordered that Brambl make arrangements by noon today to have the majority of witnesses available for interview.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.