A former student at Santa Fe High School charged with conspiracy to kill on campus has been released from a juvenile detention facility and placed on round-the-clock electronic monitoring.
At a hearing Wednesday afternoon, Deputy District Attorney Jason Lidyard announced to State District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer that the state and counsel for Aaron Encinias had reached an agreement for the teenager to stay at both his father's and grandmother's residences under 24-hour adult supervision.
As part of the arrangement, Encinias will have to withdraw from Santa Fe Public Schools and enroll with New Mexico Connections Academy, which is part of a limited liability company that specializes in online courses for grade school students. He also can attend counseling and therapy sessions, as well as some social events.
"So he can have some sort of social connection, if he wants to go to movies with a friend, or to go to the grocery store with his father, but it will all have to be under adult supervision and only in a period of hours available per week with prior approval from the monitoring agency," Lidyard told the judge.
The agreement followed a mental health evaluation conducted while Encinias was incarcerated at the Santa Fe County Juvenile Detention Facility for nearly three weeks. Those results are not publicly available, but Encinias is set to undergo a second evaluation in the coming weeks. Sommer also ordered him to wear an electronic ankle bracelet that's monitored by corrections officials from Santa Fe County. The judge ordered Encinias' family to pay a $25 intake fee for the device, but waived costs associated with daily monitoring.
When asked whether the family could pay the intake fee, Enicias' lawyer, Thomas Clark, told the court, "It took every dime the family had to hire me."
Since 2011, the use of electronic monitoring equipment to track criminal offenders and pretrial defendants in Santa Fe County has roughly doubled. In total, the county has paid more than $2 million to the company BI Inc. for monitoring devices and services.
Encinias is supposed to wear the bracelet until at least Jan. 31, when he is set to come before Sommer again for a status hearing. The judge set a hearing date of March 7, when the court may rule on whether the teen is guilty of the charges against him.
The case against the former Santa Fe High student rests primarily on two hand-written notes that prosecutors and Santa Fe police allege show a premeditated plan to shoot up the school. Charges were dropped earlier this month against two other students at the school who were initially charged as co-conspirators.
Encinias is charged under an obscure state terrorism law originally passed to prosecute militia and neo-Nazi groups in New Mexico. The state's Supreme Court Law Library has no record of the law being used to prosecute any other criminal defendant since the law went into effect in 1990.
A request from SFR to District Attorney Marco Serna's office for copies of the handwritten notes being used as evidence against Encinias is still pending. A phone call to defense counsel Clark was not returned by publication time.