Man charged in dealership fire: Cops and Courts

A Clovis man appeared in Curry County Magistrate Court on Thursday to face charges he set the Bender Chevrolet dealership aflame on Oct. 23.

Aaron Quinones, 20, of Clovis, was arrested on Nov. 23 after detectives with the Clovis Police Department matched shoe prints taken from the scene with Quinones’ shoes, court records show.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Burrill said tools left at the scene of the crime belonged to Quinones’ step-father.

He’s charged with breaking and entering (fourth-degree felony) and arson over $1,000 (third-degree felony), court records show, and he’s currently incarcerated in the Curry County Adult Detention Center on $15,000 cash or surety bond.

Burrill said Quinones has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 4 1/2 years in prison.
She said the damages to Bender were over $1 million, but the highest level arson charge is over $1,000.

The case has been bound over to the 9th Judicial District Court.

Quinones’ court-appointed attorney did not return a phone call seeking comment. Bender co-owner Darryle Bender declined comment.

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A Curry County jury Friday found a Melrose man guilty of sexually abusing a male acquaintance, officials with the district attorney’s office said.

Steve Woods, 33, of Melrose, was found guilty of criminal sexual penetration in the first degree, criminal sexual contact in the fourth degree and false imprisonment and battery, officials said.

Woods was drinking beer at the victim’s home when the two began to argue, Assistant District Attorney Andrea Reeb said. Woods then attempted to engage the man in a fight; when the man refused, Reeb said Woods sexually assaulted him. When the victim’s girlfriend woke up and came to the living room, where the assault occurred, Woods quit the abuse, Reeb said.

Woods’ sentencing has yet to be scheduled. He faces up to 25 1/2 years in prison, according to a press release from the district attorney’s office.

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For the first time, the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has a victim advocate assigned to Roosevelt County, according to a press release from the district attorney’s office.

Portales resident Lory Adams will assist victims of crime by responding to sexual assault and abuse reports, referring victims for counseling and assisting victims with their impact statements.

Adams recently attended the Homeland Security Domestic Violence Training Program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia. The training discussed effective intervention of domestic violence in rural settings.

“In the past, the Roosevelt County district attorney’s office relied upon advocates from Curry County to respond to calls for assistance from law enforcement,” 9th Judicial District Attorney Matthew Chandler said in a press release. “With the addition of a victim advocate who both works and resides in Roosevelt County, the district attorney’s office hopes to offer a more accessible, and immediate response to the needs of victims …”

Cops and Courts is compiled by CNJ news editor Mike Linn. He can be contacted at 763-6991 or:
mike_link@link.freedom.com