Man enters Alford plea for third-degree child abuse charge

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FARMINGTON — Two suspects in separate cases recently agreed to plea agreements in their cases on charges for child abuse and failure to register as a sex offender.

Valdemar Rodriguez, 44, was charged on April 11 with a first-degree felony count of child abuse resulting in great bodily harm, according to The Daily Times archives.

The Kirtland man was accused of shooting his 6-year-old son in the head on March 3 while shooting at a bottle with a handgun. The incident occurred in a wash about a mile from the family's residence.

A plea agreement filed on Oct. 29 showed Rodriguez entered an Alford plea, similar to a no contest plea, to a third-degree felony count of child abuse.

Jack Fortner, Rodriguez's attorney, stated he believed the DA's Office recognized it was a terrible accident, and the son has recovered completely and is doing well.  

Dustin O'Brien, chief deputy district attorney, said Rodriguez entered a plea on the third-degree felony count of child abuse instead of a first-degree count due to the child abuse statue for New Mexico. O'Brien stated a first-degree felony child abuse charge requires the victim to suffer a permanent or protracted injury of great bodily harm.

A sentencing hearing for Rodriguez is set for 3 p.m. Nov. 29 in Aztec District Court.

In a separate case, an Upper Fruitland man facing three sets of criminal charges in district court has pleaded no contest to failure to register as a sex offender and possession of a controlled substance as part of a plea agreement filed on Nov. 5.

Johnny Reames, 58, was facing a total of four failing to register as a sex offender charges, along with the controlled substance charge and a misdemeanor charge of use or possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court records. Three of the failure to register charges and the misdemeanor drug charge will be dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Reames allegedly failed to register with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office as a sex offender for more than one year, according to the Daily Times archives.

He was charged for failing to re-register after being arrested twice and failing to make his annual registration with the Sheriff's Office.

Sarah Field, Reames' public defender, said her client spent several months in the county jail, and all parties believe probation would be a good rehabilitation process to get Reames back on his feet again.

O'Brien stated Reames has spent a considerable amount of time in custody, serving 168 days in the county jail as of Friday.

Reames was sentenced to three years in prison by District Judge John Dean Jr., but all but six months of the sentence was suspended.

Reames will have two years and six months of supervised probation when he is released.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

More: Father faces child abuse charge, accused of shooting son in head

Man accused of failing to register as sex offender this year

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