Soto requests bail reduction in murder case

Steve Garrison
Cody Soto

FARMINGTON — An attorney for Cody Soto filed a motion Wednesday requesting a judge reduce or eliminate the 26-year-old man's $500,000 cash-only bond.

Attorney Liane Kerr states in the motion that Soto, who is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Brandy Robinson, presents no danger to others and would reside with his mother in Bloomfield if released.

Kerr cites the lack of forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony in the case as an argument for her client's release.

Prosecutors presented evidence at a nearly two-week trial for Soto that ended Monday with a hung jury. The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on whether Soto was responsible for fatally stabbing Robinson, his 29-year-old ex-girlfriend, on June 20, 2013.

Robinson's nude body was found by detectives with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office in a remote location near the Bisti Highway on June 22, 2013. A medical investigator testified at trial that Robinson was stabbed 23 times and her throat was slit.

Detectives identified several possible suspects before Soto's arrest in August.

Prosecutors presented no forensic evidence at trial that connected Soto to the crime scene, but Soto confessed to stabbing Robinson during two days of questioning in July 2013. Soto's attorneys argued at trial that detectives elicited a false confession from their client and disputed that he actually made a confession.

The jury deliberated for approximately three and a half hours on Monday before Judge John Dean declared a hung jury.

A jury question filed Monday indicated jurors split 9-3 on Soto's guilt, but it was not clear whether the majority or minority favored a guilty verdict.

"Stuck at 9-3," the jury question states. "Do we keep fighting it out?"

The state has not yet filed a response to Kerr's motion.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.