By Carlos Padilla
Frank Chavez and Deann Chavez are both scheduled to appear in Seventh Judicial District Court on Friday, Oct. 24, for a pre-trial conference, both of which are scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m.
Typically, pre-trial conferences are held at the Sierra County Magistrate Court, however, due to the magnitude of the charges and possibly out of a concern for safety, the hearings will be held at District Court, which is equipped with metal detectors. A large law enforcement presence may be expected for Friday’s court proceedings.
That was the case at the arraignment hearings for the Chavez’s, when they each were initially charged on open counts of murder for the death of 37-year-old Jeffery L. Martin of Las Palomas Canyon.
Frank Chavez is still facing a felony murder charge as well as a criminal count of tampering with evidence. He is presently incarcerated at the Socorro County Detention Facility. Frank Chavez is currently scheduled for a Nov. 17 jury trial, which is subject to change.
Deann Chavez – in a surprise turn of events at the aforementioned arraignment hearing – saw the open count of murder dismissed against her. She is, however, on conditions of release and still faces a criminal count of tampering with evidence.
Deann Chavez’s conditions of release are unorthodox. According to the local District Court, she has been placed on an ankle bracelet, however, she is not allowed to return to Truth or Consequences or Palomas Canyon, where the Chavez’s lived and operated a business embroiled in controversy.
That controversy stems from the allocation of flood mitigation work to the tune of some $5 million, and under scrutiny by several concerned citizens who have addressed issues surrounding the county flood office over the years.
Current Flood Commissioner Jim Goton confirmed to The Herald recently that shortly after her release from incarceration, Ms. Chavez contacted his office, stating that her crews were “ready to get back to work.”
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