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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MST

New Mexico woman accused in fatal pursuit due in court

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico woman accused of causing a crash that killed a police officer and a retired firefighter after lying about having been kidnapped is scheduled to make an initial court appearance Tuesday. Jeanine Jaramillo faces two counts of murder in the First Judicial District in Santa Fe. She appeared in court Monday on a separate drug charge. A criminal complaint says she concealed methamphetamine in a body cavity when she was booked over the weekend on charges related to the deadly pursuit. Jaramillo has a criminal record that includes two police pursuits in Cibola County last fall in stolen vehicles. Her public defender didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.


New Mexico lawyers spar over criminal diversion program

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The top prosecutor in New Mexico's busiest judicial district says a program aimed at steering low-level offenders away from criminal prosecution remains underused despite a big rise in participation last year. District Attorney Raúl Torrez tells the Albuquerque Journal that defendants represented by public defenders don't accept enough offers from his office to participate in the pre-prosecution diversion program. But public defenders say they've accepted more offers since the district attorney started removing barriers to participation. Data from the district attorney's office shows defendants represented by public defenders accepted 29% of pre-prosecution diversion offers in November and 23% in December.


Navajo Nation seeks members for car dealership settlement

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Navajo Nation officials are seeking anyone who purchased a car from a chain of dealerships on or near the reservation to claim part of a settlement. The Daily Times in Farmington reports that the Office of Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission is searching for people eligible to receive part of a $450,000 settlement between Tate's Auto Group and the Federal Trade Commission. The owner of Tate's Auto Group was accused of manipulating consumer information on financial documents, according to a FTC complaint filed in 2018. The settlement was reached last summer. Tate's Auto had locations in Gallup and the Arizona communities of Holbrook, Show Low and Winslow.


New Mexico court: Grand juries can't challenge COVID orders

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled that citizens can't convene grand juries to investigate the governor's response to COVID-19 because her actions were lawful and within the scope of her authority. The high court's order Monday scuttles three grand jury petitions in the politically conservative southeastern corner of the state against New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The justices also ordered district courts to deny any similar petitions as they are filed. In the response to the pandemic, the Democratic governor has pursued aggressive emergency public health orders that restricted nonessential business, imposed extended mask mandates and enabled many public schools to suspend classroom teaching for a year or more. The orders have withstood multiple legal challenges.


New Mexico Democrats hold pre-primary nominating convention

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — The Democratic Party of New Mexico traveled to Republican-rich Roswell for a pre-primary nominating convention. Officials introduced the party's slate of candidates for the June 7 primary election, an unofficial launch of the campaign season for contested nominations to serve as attorney general and other offices. Absentee balloting and in-person voting at county clerks' offices begin May 10. At Saturday's nominating convention, party leaders and candidates called for unity and a push to turn out voters in what looks like a challenging November election. In contrast to the Republican Party's recent convention, the Democratic delegates will cast their ballots entirely online or through telephone voting.


Texas boy battling cancer made honorary New Mexico policeman

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A 10-year-old Texas boy who is battling cancer has been made an honorary police officer in Roswell, New Mexico. Davarjaye "DJ" Daniel of Houston had a swearing-in ceremony Friday with the Roswell Police Department. The boy's family says he has dreamed of being a police officer his whole life and law enforcement agencies across the country have helped that come true. Daniel also is an honorary member of the Chaves County Sheriff's Office, New Mexico State Police, Hagerman Police Department, the New Mexico Mounted Patrol and the Chaves County Detention Center. Theodis Daniel told the Roswell Daily Record that his son is now a member of 289 agencies and counting. The boy was diagnosed in 2018 with brain and spine cancer and undergone 11 surgeries and several other extensive procedures.


Navajo energy company invests in carbon capture effort

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Navajo Transitional Energy Company has invested in another energy company that is aiming to develop a large-scale platform for carbon capture services. The Farmington Daily Times reports that the deal puts NTEC on Enchant Energy Corp.'s board of directors. Enchant Energy wants to take over the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico later this year after it is abandoned by New Mexico's largest electric utility. But critics have raised concerns about financing and the ability to make carbon capture technology work at the decades-old plant. The Navajo company's investment in Enchant Energy is being criticized by environmentalists.


Woman arrested in crash that killed 2, including officer

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico woman has been arrested after authorities say she caused a crash that killed an officer and retired firefighter and then she lied about having been kidnapped. Authorities say Saturday that 46-year-old Jeannine Jaramillo faces charges including first-degree murder. She had told authorities she was carjacked at knifepoint. Authorities say evidence from the vehicle shows there was only one person inside at the time of the Wednesday crash and that DNA from an airbag belonged to Jaramillo. The collision killed a Santa Fe police officer and a retired firefighter. Jaramillo told KOB-TV that she was abducted and feared for her life. Authorities say she had given a similar account in the past.