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Pleas entered in Arboles murder case

Two Arboles men entered guilty pleas Tuesday afternoon for their involvement in the death of a Dulce man along County Road 500 (Trujillo Road) just over a year ago.

Nathan Lucas, 25, and David Peterson, 32, both entered guilty pleas as part of their respective plea deals in front of District Court Judge Gregory Lyman during what were scheduled to be pre-trial readiness hearings for both men.

Both plea deals were the same — with guilty pleas to manslaughter and second-degree burglary, both class-four felonies.

Now, both men are awaiting sentencing in June that could land each in the Colorado Department of Corrections for up to a decade.

Lucas was the first to move forward with the plea deal Tuesday afternoon, standing beside attorney Justin Bogan.

“Mr. Lucas is particularly emotional going forward with this today,” Bogan noted as the process began.

As Lucas’ June 5 sentencing date was being scheduled, it was made known to the court that Lucas’ bond was being revoked, though no reason was made publicly known during the hearing.

Lucas was taken into custody at the end of the day’s proceedings.

Next up was Peterson, who entered the same plea as he stood alongside attorney Brian Schowalter.

Peterson is scheduled for sentencing on June 19, and he remains free on bond.

The pair originally faced the following charges:

• 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; and

• Criminal mischief, a class 2 misdemeanor.

The May 11, 2011 incident 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 in a previous interview.

A gag order was put into place by County Court Judge Jim Denvir early in the judicial process to limit pre-trial publicity.

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