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Magistrate Judge Barry Sharer denied motion by defendant


AZTEC — A $50,000 bond for the woman accused of abusing her teenage daughter and killing multiple puppies will remain in place after she sought to be released from jail with an ankle monitor.

Martha Crouch, 53, had her motion to modify her conditions of release denied by Judge Barry Sharer on the morning of July 11 in Aztec Magistrate Court.

She is accused of felony counts of extreme cruelty to animals and child abuse, along with a petty misdemeanor count of obstruction of investigation of child abuse.

Crouch's 17-year-old daughter told law enforcement her mother cooked multiple puppies in a pot on the stove of their residence, shot her dog and beat her with a kitchen tool leaving bruises on her legs.

Crouch made her first appearance in Aztec Magistrate Court on June 26, where she was assigned a $50,000 cash at 10 percent bond by Judge Trudy Reed-Chase.

The defendant's preliminary hearing was set for the morning of July 11, but it was postponed after her attorney, Eric Morrow, sought a competency hearing to determine if Crouch can stand trial. That hearing has not been scheduled yet.

Morrow's motion stated Crouch had been diagnosed with hypoxemia, or low oxygen in the blood, and blood clots, for which she is prescribed medication.

While she was being treated for the blood clots, Morrow alleged in the motion that she is not receiving treatment for the hypoxemia.

The hearing on July 11 was regarding Crouch's conditions of release.

Morrow argued Crouch has no criminal history in New Mexico and that she has no method to pay the bond on her case as she is "very poor."

He added that Crouch would stop receiving Social Security payments while she is incarcerated and needed the money.

The prosecution argued the defendant was a flight risk, as her husband, Timothy P. Crouch, has been charged with helping her and their minor children evade New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department investigators.

Court documents state the family has a history of fleeing an area when law enforcement or child protective services become involved.

Crouch and the children allegedly hid in Durango, Colorado, at a campsite at Navajo Dam then in a Farmington motel, where law enforcement found them on June 1.

Morrow disagreed with the prosecution's argument, stating Crouch hopes to regain custody of her minor children and fleeing would be counterproductive to that.

He added the family would be able to pay the daily fee for their mother's ankle bracelet monitor.

Judge Sharer denied the motions following about a 15 minute hearing.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at

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