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Suspects charged in murder case

Two Arboles men have each been charged with nine counts relative to a series of incidents, including charges for murder, burglary, theft and criminal mischief.

The charges stem from a series of alleged thefts and burglaries in the Arboles area in February and March, as well as an alleged murder on March 11.

Two suspects were arrested for possible involvement in the incidents — Nathan Lucas, 24, and David Peterson, 31, both of Arboles — and are being held at the Archuleta County Detention Center.

The charges were levied at a Thursday hearing under the eye of Archuleta County Court Judge Jim Denvir.

Both men are facing:

• Felony first-degree murder.

• Robbery, a class 4 felony.

• Second-degree burglary, a class 4 felony.

• Theft, a class 4 felony.

• Third-degree burglary, a class 5 felony.

• Theft, a class 4 felony.

• Second-degree burglary, a class 3 felony.

• Theft, a class 1 misdemeanor.

• Criminal mischief, a class 2 misdemeanor.

The hearings to file charges against the men were originally scheduled for April 21, but Denvir granted an extension to Deputy District Attorney Alex Lowe, who, citing a convoluted case that involved investigations in Colorado and New Mexico, told Denvir the charges, “cannot be filed loosely or dismissed loosely.”

Also, on April 28, Denvir entertained a motion to reduce Peterson’s bond from $500,000. Both Peterson’s and Lucas’ bonds were set at $500,000 following their arrests.

In arguing for a reduced bond, Peterson’s attorney, Brian Schowalter, said Peterson’s bail was oppressive, a term in opposition of the bail criteria set out in the Colorado Revised Statues.

Schowalter went on to detail Peterson’s family’s need for his presence — both financially and to help care for his two sons and grandmother, with whom he lives with in Arboles. Schowalter called the alleged murder a “very unfortunate and very sad accident.”

Peterson’s father and wife also spoke of the need to have Peterson home to help keep the family afloat.

Lowe, on the other hand, argued that the $500,000 bail was deemed appropriate when it was set and that changes to the charges would likely not favor Peterson, whom he said is an “extreme flight risk” due to the charges he is facing, his criminal history and history of failing to appear in court.

Lowe also voiced concern about a possible retaliation and intimidation risk for possible witnesses in the case, asking for GPS monitoring and travel limitations should Peterson post bail.

In weighing the options, Denvir said he felt $500,000 was oppressive, but that he couldn’t “in good faith” reduce the bond to less than $300,000, also setting the limitations that, should he bond out, Peterson would be required to wear a GPS monitor and stay within Archuleta and La Plata counties without further permission.

As of Monday, Peterson was still being held in the ACDC.

Denvir also approved a gag order in Peterson’s case to limit pretrial publicity, meaning such orders are in effect for both Peterson’s and Lucas’ cases.

The alleged murder was originally reported to the Colorado State Patrol and Southern Ute Indian Tribe Police Department as a traffic accident.

Further information led to a homicide investigation by the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, with the two men arrested on murder charges.

The victim, 45-year-old Andrew Montoya, of Dulce, N.M., died the afternoon of March 11 on County Road 500 near mile marker 40 , said Det. Rich Valdez of the ACSO.

Neither case had been set for a preliminary hearing as of Monday. That hearing will be conducted by District Court Judge Greg Lyman.

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